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The Japanese government has been warned that its pro-coal policies are creating a “bottleneck” in international climate talks — and that the country risks being left behind in the global green energy boom. Foreign Minister Taro Kono received the strongly worded assessment from his advisory panel on climate change on Feb. 19. The document provides food for thought for policymakers in Tokyo as Kono signals his determination to remedy what he recently described as a “lamentable” situation.

The nine-member panel — which includes business leaders, researchers and conservationists — called for a transformation of the way Japan engages with the international community on energy issues. It said, “Japan’s energy diplomacy thus far has focused on efforts securing fossil fuel resources; it should now situate renewables as a core of the pillars of the diplomacy in order to realize a sustainable future in collaboration with other countries.”

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