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Defense Ministry Crashes Wind Power Party

Monday June 13, 2022. 04:52 AM , from Akihabara News
Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Japan’s offshore wind power development is suddenly threatened from an unexpected direction–the demands of the Defense Ministry, which says that the massive turbines may interfere with its missile defense radar.

It has been revealed that the Defense Ministry has singled out about ten offshore zones earmarked for development which it says could pose a national security risk.

Self-Defense Forces radar emits radio waves that bounce off objects, with the returning signal allowing objects to be located. The Defense Ministry believes that offshore turbines may interfere with its radar, making it more difficult to identify incoming planes or missiles.

The Defense Ministry says that this has already proven to be the case with some onshore wind turbines located on mountaintops and along the Sea of Japan coastline.

In March, the US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that offshore turbines can interfere with ships’ navigational radar systems

Offshore wind, however, is seen as a crucial element to boost renewable energy and to achieve the nation’s decarbonization goals. Since the enabling legislation was passed in 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) have been moving quickly to prepare promising offshore zones, most of which happen to be along the Sea of Japan coastline due to the extreme depth of ocean waters along Japan’s Pacific coastline.

Until now, offshore wind was not seen to be within the purview of the Defense Ministry.

It now seems likely the Defense Ministry’s objections will have a serious negative impact on Japan’s offshore wind power development. Some developer plans may be revised, and some offshore zones suitable for wind turbines may be dropped from consideration entirely.

This is doubly the case because the ruling party is filled with defense hawks who will automatically prioritize Defense Ministry concerns over renewable energy plans.

Indeed, the rightwing commentator Kotoe Hashimoto has already suggested that there may be a conspiracy involved: “Are the enemies promoting renewable energy in order to carry out the bombing of main island Japan?”

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