Japan will boost investment in technologies to tackle climate change such as renewable energy, hydrogen fuel and carbon recycling as part of its growth strategy, a government panel said Tuesday.
Offshore wind farms are "key to turning renewables into a primary energy source" for the resource-poor country, an action plan finalized by the panel said.
The plan calls for building the infrastructure for 30 gigawatts of capacity by 2040, equivalent to 30 large thermal power generators and up from the current 0.02 gigawatt that Japan produces on offshore wind farms on a trial basis.
The country has been criticized for its reliance on coal and is rushing to find alternatives, especially as restarting nuclear power plants remains difficult under stricter safety rules following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has focused on tackling climate change since taking office in September, pledging to achieve carbon neutrality, or net zero carbon dioxide emissions, by 2050.
The premier said the government will designate firms developing innovative technologies as participants in national projects, supporting them through fiscal measures and preferential tax treatment.
"We will swiftly consider concrete steps," Suga said at a meeting of the panel, which consists of Cabinet ministers, private-sector leaders and academics tasked with formulating the country's growth strategy.
The plan listed next-generation batteries, hydrogen fuel and carbon recycling as particularly important technologies, with firms that receive funding expected to meet numerical targets set for 2030.
The government is considering an extra budget worth about 20 trillion yen ($192 billion) for the current fiscal year to help the world's third-largest economy weather the coronavirus pandemic. The measures in the action plan are expected to be included in the supplementary budget.
Japan will also seek to become a global leader in the market for zero and low emission vehicles, though a target for annual sales of 1 million electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles by 2030 that was included in a draft of the action plan was removed from the final version.
The government is also considering giving preferential tax treatment for mergers and acquisitions involving small and medium-sized businesses, and lowering the threshold for firms eligible for government subsidies and loan programs.
"Improving productivity is the most important task for Japanese businesses, and we will make every effort to achieve this," Suga said.