Japanese government has approved a plan ensuring that by 2010 alternative energy sources will cover 3% of Japan's total energy demand.

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The Japanese government approved a plan in mid December to dramatically increase the use of alternative energy sources. The goal is to ensure they contribute 3% of total demand in 2010, displacing oil and coal.

The scheme is designed to reduce the country's heavy dependence on imported oil and coal in energy consumption and meet Japan's pledge to keep carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels beyond the year 2000.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on energy affairs, Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama voiced his determination to achieve the goal in close co-operation with private concerns "As a nation which has been through oil crises, Japan faces the urgent task of expanding the use of new energy sources so as to secure sources of energy and keep the promise to prevent global warming," Murayama told the meeting.

The energy plan features a proposal that the use of solar power be expanded to the equivalent of 4.6 million kilowatts by 2010, about 1200 times the current level. Also included in the plan are expansion of power generation from waste to 4 million kilowatts, about eight times the current level; and promotion of the use of automobiles running on clean energy, such as electricity and natural gas, to raise the volume of energy such vehicles consume to the equivalent of 3.24 million kilolitres of oil, about 1080 times the current level.

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