30% of big companies see potential of green energy


More than 30 percent of 109 major Japanese companies polled believe that renewable energy will constitute a viable alternative to nuclear power.

According to the results of the poll released Saturday, only three companies believe there is no alternative, indicating that business circles are becoming increasingly optimistic that Japan will be able to minimize its reliance on nuclear energy in the future.

Asked what will replace nuclear power, 35 companies said renewable energy in the form of solar or wind power, while 10 firms said thermal power.

On the three options proposed by the government for atomic power’s role in the nation’s future energy mix in 2030, 13 companies backed the 15 percent option and 11 chose for 20 percent to 25 percent. One company answered zero percent, while four said nuclear power should account for more than 25 percent.

Kansai Electric Power Co. answered that “Japan needs at least 20 to 25 percent from nuclear power, assuming safety is assured.”

“Any one of those three options is expected to affect people’s lives and economic growth,” said the utility, which restarted two reactors at its Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture in July, the first to be reactivated since the nation’s commercial reactors were all turned off in light of the Fukushima disaster last year.

The survey, conducted by Kyodo News between late July and early August, covered the nation’s leading companies, including Sony Corp., Toyota Motor Corp., Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Nippon Steel Corp. and Rakuten Inc.

Asked about how hard the recently passed consumption tax hike will affect earnings, 43 percent said they expect an adverse effect, 29 anticipate “a slightly negative impact,” and 18 expect “a negative impact.”

Thirty-five firms, or 32 percent, said they do not foresee any impact on earnings, while four companies anticipated a slightly positive impact.

The Diet recently passed legislation to raise the 5 percent tax rate to 8 percent in April 2014 and to 10 percent in October 2015 to cope with swelling social security costs.

As for the state of Japan’s economy, 50 companies said it is growing moderately, versus two that said it is contracting. Fifty-seven said the economy is just moving sideways.