Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday appointed former TV broadcaster Tamayo Marukawa as Japan’s new environment minister, sacking former minister Yoshio Mochizuki only a week after he said Japan might consider setting up an emissions trading scheme.
Abe shifted 10 of his ministers in a move observers said was designed to breathe life back into the national economy.
44-year old Marukawa, one of only three female ministers in the new Cabinet, has been in politics since 2007, when she left her role as a presenter for TV Asahi.
She has no background or experience in energy and environment issues, and over the past eight years she has primarily dealt with social and labour policies.
“To be honest, I have no idea about her take on climate change and don’t know why she was appointed to the position. I never heard of her in the context of climate policies,” one observer who wished to remain anonymous told Carbon Pulse.
She takes over from Yoshio Mochizuki, who over the past few months has made headlines with his opposition to plans to build new coal-fired power plants.
Last week he raised eyebrows when he said emissions trading was a “cost-effective measure that will certainly lead to emission reductions”.
“We would like to consider the measure while looking at the impact on industries and employment,” he told a Tokyo press conference on Sep. 30.
Such a move would certainly be opposed both within the Cabinet as well as by powerful industry groups, and with Mochizuki’s removal the issue is less likely to reappear anytime soon.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org