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Japan's solar energy boom runs out of steam

Some advocates fear the government is retreating from its clean-energy commitments

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Workers checking equipment at Kagoshima's Nanatsushima Mega-Solar Power Plant. Its vast lot was set aside for a shipyard more than 30 years ago but sat empty until the recent solar boom.

Makurazaki, Japan

RICE fields, golf courses and even a disused airport runway. All over the southern Japanese region of Kyushu, unexpected places gleam with electricity-producing solar panels.

Solar use in Japan has exploded in the last two years as part of an ambitious national