TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's trade ministry will launch a panel to revise the government's basic energy plan and consider a need to build new nuclear plants or replace existing plants in the future, the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will kick off the debate on the future of nuclear energy at the panel to be set up as early as this month, the report said, without citing sources.
The ministry aims to have the updated energy plan approved by the cabinet by the end of next March, according to the report.
The government will keep its current plan to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy but it would propose to keep a minimal amount of nuclear power for long-term stable power supplies and maintain technology and personnel, according to the report.
Hurdles to such change in policy are high because of strong public resistance to nuclear in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
A target by the industry ministry for nuclear to provide about a fifth of the country's electricity in 2030 provoked widespread criticism when it was finalised in 2015.
(Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori)