Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi announced Tuesday that tighter restrictions could be placed in the coming months on Japanese exports of coal power to developing nations in an effort to deflect mounting international criticism over the nation's energy policy.

"This is a significant decision that brings Japan one step closer to achieving carbon neutrality," Koizumi said following a Cabinet meeting. "Japan's export of coal-fired energy to developing countries is one of the more frequent criticisms it receives from the international community in regards to its use of coal power."

Under its current energy policy, Japan decides whether to export coal-powered energy to a foreign nation based on four conditions: said nation has no other reasonable options for alternative energy sources, the request is made through official channels directly to the Japanese government, the foreign nation's energy policy and climate change prevention measures are comprehensive, and coal-fired power satisfies the basic standards of Ultra Supercritical Coal, which refers to more modern plants with higher efficiency and often lower heat waste, pollution and carbon emissions.