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Japan election

Future of nuclear power looms over Japan's LDP leadership race

Former anti-nuclear crusader Kono now sees limited role in zero emissions effort

A fuel rod is inserted into a reactor vessel inside the No. 1 reactor building at Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power station.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- As the field for the leadership race for Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party takes shape, energy and environmental policy look set to play a bigger role than usual.

Former LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, former internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi, both of whom have announced they are running, and regulatory reform minister Taro Kono, who is expected to announce Friday -- have set out differing visions on the role of nuclear and renewable energy in meeting Japan's climate goals. The administration of departing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and cut emissions 46% from fiscal 2013 levels by fiscal 2030.

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