Japanese government submitted the Greenhouse gas 26 percent reduction target towards 2030 and signed the Paris agreement. The government announced related policies about the climate change and energy, and one of their fundamental principles is "the harmonization of environment and economy." We focus on this principles in this paper. Fukushima Recovery plan and Paris target are becoming two significant constraints for deciding Japanese future energy choice. We use a series of public opinion survey and focus group interviews. We analyze public's support for energy and low-carbon policies in Japan.
Our every-month survey for "the most important issues in the world and Japan" shows that "the environment" is one of the top issues in the world from 2005 until now, but it showed significant trade-offs with economic issues (unemployment, economic growth). "The Environment versus economy" is still a critical issue in prioritizing policy targets.
For the energy issue, the contribution of nuclear power is an issue in the context of environment-economy tradeoffs. A series of opinion poll data show that respondents who chose "Economy" over "Environment" are more likely to a) support resuming operation of nuclear power plants, b) be more anxious for nuclear power plant's accidents, and c) emphasis risk than benefits in operating nuclear power plants. Some other demographic variables are also significant such as gender, age, income, and educational level. People who were in mainstream economy sectors, who we thought them to be most secure in job status, seems to be more likely to choose economy over the environment, as they told they were anxious about the future Japanese economy, and also unemployment in focus groups.
More specifically, the debate concerning "economy," "meeting the Paris target," "support for the nuclear power generation" has a more complex situation. Most people are favor of renewable energy, but people are divided into groups; pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear, and "pro-climate" and "skeptics." It seems there is no mainstream combination.