Energy in Japan
The country lacks significant domestic reserves of fossil fuel, except coal, and must import substantial amounts of crude oil, natural gas, and other energy resources, including uranium. Japan relied on oil imports to meet about 42 percent of its energy needs in 2010. Japan was also the first coal importer in 2010, with 187 Mt (about 20% of total world coal import), and the first natural gas importer with 99 bcm (12.1% of world total gas import).
While Japan had previously relied on nuclear power to meet about one fourth of its electricity needs, after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster all nuclear reactors have been progressively shut down for safety concerns. Ohi nuclear plant's reactor No. 3 was eventually restarted on 2 July 2012. As of January 2013 most cities hosting nuclear plants are okay with restarts.
|Energy in Japan|
|Change 2004-10||-0.2 %||-6.8 %||0.0 %||-7.2 %||3.7 %||-5.9 %|
|Mtoe = 11.63 TWh, Prim. energy includes energy losses that are 2/3 for nuclear power|
Japan's rapid industrial growth since the end of World War II doubled the nation's energy consumption every five years into the 1990s. During the 1960–72 period of accelerated growth, energy consumption grew much faster than GNP, doubling Japan's consumption of world energy. By 1976, with only 3% of the world's population, Japan was consuming 6% of global energy supplies.
Compared with other nations, electricity in Japan is relatively expensive, and, since the loss of nuclear power after the earthquake and tsunami disaster at Fukushima, the cost of electricity has risen significantly.
In terms of per capita electricity consumption, the average person in Japan consumed 8,459 kWh in 2004 compared to 14,240 kWh for the average American. In that respect it ranked 18th among the countries of the world. Its per capita electricity consumption increased by 21.8% between 1990 and 2004.
Japan had 282 GW of total installed electricity generating capacity in 2010, the third largest in the world behind the United States and China. However, after the damage by the 2011 earthquake, capacity is estimated to be around 243 GW in mid-2011.
With 53 active nuclear power generating reactor units in 2009, that year Japan ranked third in the world in that respect, after the United States (104 reactors) and France (59). Almost one quarter (24.93%) of its electricity production was from nuclear plants, compared to 76.18% for France and 19.66% for the United States. However post earthquake all plants eventually shut down in 2012 and currently produces no nuclear power.
National grid 
Unlike most other industrial countries, Japan doesn't have a single national grid but instead has separate eastern and western grids. The standard voltage at power outlets is 100 V, but the grids operate at different frequencies: 50 Hz in Eastern Japan and 60 Hz in Western Japan. The grids are connected together by 3 frequency converter stations (Higashi-Shimizu, Shin Shinano and Sakuma), but these can only handle 1 GW. A converter station also exists at Minami-Fukumitsu. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami resulted in 11 reactors being taken offline with a loss of 9.7GW. The 3 converter stations did not have the capacity to transfer enough power from Japan's western power grid to significantly help the eastern grid.
The two grids were originally developed by separate companies. Tokyo Electric Light Co was established in 1883 which also established electric power in Japan. In 1885 demand had grown enough that TELCO bought generation equipment from AEG of Germany. The same happened in the western parts of Japan with General Electric being the supplier to Osaka Electric Lamp. GE's equipment used the US standard 60 Hz while AEG's equipment used the European standard of 50 Hz.
In Japan, the electricity market is divided up into 10 regulated companies:
- Chugoku Electric Power Company (CEPCO)
- Chubu Electric Power (Chuden)
- Hokuriku Electric Power Company (HEPCO)
- Hokkaido Electric Power Company (Hokuden)
- Kyushu Electric Power (Kyuden)
- Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO)
- Okinawa Electric Power Company (Okiden)
- The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)
- Tohoku Electric Power (Tohokuden)
- Shikoku Electric Power Company (Yonden)
Energy sources 
In 1950 coal supplied half of Japan's energy needs, hydroelectricity one-third, and oil the rest. By 2001 the contribution of oil had increased to 50.2% of the total, with rises also in the use of nuclear power and natural gas. Japan now depends heavily on imported fossil fuels to meet its energy demand.
In the wake of the two oil crises of the 1970s (1973 and 1979), Japan made efforts to diversify energy resources in order to increase security. Japan's domestic oil consumption dropped slightly, from around 5.1 million barrels (810,000 m3) of oil per day in the late 1970s to 4.9 million barrels (780,000 m3) per day in 1990. While the country's use of oil declined, its consumption of nuclear power and Natural gas rose substantially. Several Japanese industries, including electric power companies and steelmakers, switched from petroleum to coal, most of which is imported.
The state stockpile equals about 92 days of consumption and the privately held stockpiles equal another 77 days of consumption for a total of 169 days or 579 million barrels (92,100,000 m3). The Japanese SPR is run by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.
Nuclear power 
Although Japan was a late starter in this field, it finally imported technology from the United States and obtained uranium from Canada, France, South Africa, and Australia. By 1991 the country had 42 nuclear reactors in operation, with a total generating capacity of approximately 33 GW. The ratio of nuclear power generation to total electricity production increased from 2% in 1973 to 23.6% in 1990. During the 1980s, Japan's nuclear power program was strongly opposed by environmental groups, particularly after the Three Mile Island accident in the United States.
After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami some nuclear reactors were damaged, causing much uncertainty and fear about the release of radioactive material, as well as highlighting the ongoing concerns over Japanese nuclear seismic design standards. On 5 May 2012 Japan shut down the last nuclear reactor, the first time there has been no nuclear power production since 1970. On 16 June Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restart of Ohi nuclear plant's reactors number 3 and 4, saying that people's livelihood needs to be protected. Ohi nuclear plant's reactor No. 3 was restarted on 2 July, and No. 4 began operation on 21 July.
Natural gas 
Because domestic natural gas production is minimal, rising demand is met by greater imports. Japan's main LNG suppliers in 1987 were Indonesia (51.3%), Malaysia (20.4%), Brunei (17.8%), United Arab Emirates (7.3%), and the United States (3.2%).
Renewable energy 
Japan's main renewable energy source is hydroelectricity, with an installed capacity of about 27 GW and a production of 69.2 TWh of electricity in 2009. As of September 2011, Japan had 1,198 small hydropower plants with a total capacity of 3,225 MW. The smaller plants accounted for 6.6 percent of Japan's total hydropower capacity. The remaining capacity was filled by large and medium hydropower stations, typically sited at large dams. Cost per killowat-hour for power from smaller plants was high at ¥15-100, hindering further development of the energy source.
Of other renewable energy sources, Japan has partially exploited geothermal energy. The country had six geothermal power stations with a combined capacity of 133 megawatts in 1989. By 2011, the country had 18 geothermal plants.
In addition, although it only makes a minor contribution to the total, Japan was the world's second largest producer of photovoltaic electricity in early 2000s, until overtaken by Germany in 2005, a year in which it had 38% of the world supply compared to Germany's 39%. In December 2011, Tohoku Electric Power began operating a solar power plant in Hachinohe, Aomori. The 10,000 panel plant, occupying a 50,000 square meter site, is expected to produce 1.6 million kwh of electricity a year, about the equivalent needed to power 500 households. On 1 July 2012, new tariffs for renewable energy were introduced by the Japanese government. Tariffs, set at ¥42 per kWh over the next 20 years to solar power producers, are among the highest in the world. They are expected to provide incentive for widespread expansion of solar power energy sources in the country. With the incentives in place after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan has added 1,394 MW of clean energy in 2012, mostly solar energy, with production increasing for additional solar installations in 2013.
Japan had 1,807 wind turbines with a total capacity of 2440 MW as of September 2011. A lack of locations with constant wind, environmental restrictions, and emphasis by power utilities on fossil and nuclear power hinders the employment of more wind power in the country.
As of September 2011, Japan had 190 generators attached to municipal waste units and 70 independent plants using biomass fuel to produce energy. In addition, 14 other generators were used to burn both coal and biomass fuel. In 2008, Japan produced 322 million tons of biomass fuel and converted 76% of it into energy.
In 2012, the government announced plans to build experimental tidal power and wave power plants in coastal areas. Construction on the projects, the locations for which have not been determined, would begin in 2013.
Carbon emissions 
In 2003 Japan was the 5th largest producer of carbon emissions, generating 5% of the world total. In 2003 Japan ranked 36 in the list of countries by carbon dioxide emissions per capita.
In 2007, the BBC reported that Japan was having difficulty in meeting its 6% reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol partly because Japanese businesses were already very energy efficient. Despite this, in May 2007, the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that world emissions should be reduced by 50% by 2050. He expected Japan to play a leading role in such an effort. "We must create a new framework which moves beyond the Kyoto Protocol, in which the entire world will participate in emissions reduction," Abe said.
See also 
- Energy Law (Japan)
- Electricity sector in Japan
- Japan Electric Association
- Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation
- World energy resources and consumption
- List of countries by energy consumption and production
- List of countries by energy consumption per capita
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- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies. - Japan