The Japanese government appears to have backed away from a planned phase-out of nuclear energy, following campaigning from the country’s business lobby.

The cabinet offered only a qualified endorsement of the long term strategy to move completely away from nuclear power by 2040.

Japanese trade and industry minister, Yukio Edano

The trade and industry minister, Yukio Edano, acknowledged that meeting the target date could prove impossible, reports the Guardian.

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, ministers said the plan announced last week by the government’s National Policy Unit should be implemented “flexibly” and subject to “constant verification and revision”.

The resolution made no mention of the timetable for eliminating nuclear power, an omission that both supporters and opponents of atomic energy interpreted as a sign that the government was backtracking in the face of opposition from business groups.

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