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Japan's 'clean coal' power experiment is starting to bear fruit

But yearslong project faces headwinds amid cost questions, global criticism

Japan is winding down a project aimed at using technology to make the burning of coal to generate power less environmentally damaging. (Photo by Sayumi Take)

OSAKIKAMIJIMA, Japan -- On a small island in western Japan's Hiroshima prefecture, reachable only by a 30-minute ferry ride from the mainland, a decadelong attempt to prove coal can be made "clean" is drawing to an end -- though its accomplishments face a murky future.

A 118,000-square-meter jungle of tanks, chimneys and pipes spreads out against the sparkling Seto Inland Sea and green mountains. Visitors are largely prohibited from taking photos for fear of leaking Japan's front-line technologies.

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