Japan signalled on Monday it may review ambitious climate goals amid a nuclear disaster that has crippled reactors and highlighted the radiation risk of the low-carbon energy source.
Top government spokesman Yukio Edano said Japan's carbon emission reduction goals, along with many other policies, were open to review after the quake, tsunami and nuclear calamities struck over three weeks ago.
Japan has pledged to cut its greenhouse emissions by 25 % by 2020 from 1990 levels -- provided other major polluters also make sharp reductions -- one of the most ambitious targets of any industrialised country.
But the environment ministry's top bureaucrat, Hideki Minamikawa, said at UN climate talks in Bangkok that the March 11 disaster and Fukushima nuclear plant crisis had compromised the goal, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said.
"It is true that the reduction goal will be affected a great deal," he was quoted as saying, adding that the carbon cut target was based on plans to build new reactors and to improve the capabilities of old ones.
"Both the target year and reduction %age will be reviewed," the vice minister was quoted by the mass-circulation daily as saying.
Edano appeared to back Minamikawa's comments, saying: "Needless to say, this great disaster will have a great impact in many areas in Japan.
"Not only the 25 % reduction target but also many other challenges that Japan is facing now should be examined at one point because many areas have been impacted by the quake disaster."
Resource-poor Japan meets about one third of its energy demand from nuclear energy and relies heavily on Middle Eastern oil imports, while its companies are leaders in energy efficiency and green technologies.
Japan has lost generating capacity from the Fukushima and other damaged nuclear plants as well as quake damage to its power grid and has implemented rolling blackouts and urged people to cut down on energy use.
The quake and tsunami crippled the cooling systems at Fukushima with several partial reactor meltdowns, sparking the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986. Contamination has been found in the local air, soil, sea and food.