Japan is considering ending state support to build coal-fired power plants abroad in line with international efforts to curb global warming, government sources said Monday.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga could announce the move as early as an April 22-23 virtual summit on climate change hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, the sources said.
Coal can be an attractive form of power generation for developing countries because of its low cost, but produces more carbon dioxide than natural gas or renewables such as solar and wind.
Japan has been criticized for continuing to give state support to export coal-fired power plants in the form of loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
Last July, Japan tightened its criteria for backing such projects, only allowing them in countries that are making efforts to reduce carbon emissions and those that have no choice but to turn to coal due to financial reasons.
Ending state support altogether would be a step further and comes as the Biden administration's focus on tackling climate change builds international momentum for decarbonization.
Suga has said going green will be a key driver of growth for Japan's economy.
With the goal of making Japan carbon neutral by 2050, he has pledged to unveil an "ambitious" new target for reducing carbon emissions through 2030 ahead of the U.N. conference on climate change in November.