Japan is facing another hot summer this year and conserving energy as much as possible in order to avoid power outages seems to be the order of the day. Under such circumstances, many Japanese are reconsidering Japan's future energy policy. Accordingly, for this month's RIETI Report, Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director, International Energy Agency (IEA), and Founding Vice President, RIETI, discusses the future outlook for energy, particularly with regard to implications from the Fukushima nuclear incident, Japanese nuclear policy going forward, and increasing role for gas.
In the wake of Fukushima, the IEA envisages nuclear power's share of the total electricity mix to decline from 14% to 10% by 2035. This will cause a shift in demand for both coal and gas, and CO2 emissions will rise with the increased use of fossil fuels. Mr. Tanaka presents a few different scenarios for the change in the energy mix. And while Japan reviews its energy policy after the critical stage at Fukushima is over, Mr. Tanaka hopes that serious discussions duly take place before hastily jumping to any conclusions, as moving away from nuclear power would result in an even heavier import dependency on fossil fuels. Mr. Tanaka also says that Japan can take advantage of its low-carbon technologies and global leadership in the areas of energy efficiency to design a better and more innovative energy market in Japan and cultivate business opportunities ahead.
This month's featured article
Securing a Future Energy Supply in a Sustainable Manner
TANAKA Nobuo Executive Director, International Energy Agency
On 23 June, for the third time in its history, the IEA announced that its member countries would release emergency stocks of oil. The release of 60 million barrels of oil for a period of one month was in response to the ongoing disruption of oil supplies from Libya, a problem whose effect has become more pronounced as it has continued. The normal seasonal increase in refiner demand expected over the summer will exacerbate the shortfall further. Greater tightness in the oil market threatens to undermine the fragile global economic recovery. The collective action by the 28 member countries is intended to help bridge the gap until sufficient additional oil from producing countries reaches global markets.