Special Focus: Energy Sector

Knowing the specifics of the Japanese market is vital for any project to succeed. This month in “Special Focus”, we focus on Energy. Information on the related sub-topics, latest reports, and webinars on this topic are available on the following links. 


With an energy self-sufficiency rate of only 8% in 2016, Japan has to import most of its energy resources from other countries. Two of the main reasons for the low self-sufficiency rate are the resource scarcity of Japan in general and the abrupt shift in energy policies following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Having relied heavily on nuclear energy production, Japan was forced to shut down virtually all of its reactors after the accident. This meant increased dependence on fossil resources, and the government even planned to construct new coal-fired plants amid the global trend of decarbonisation. Simultaneously, renewable energy production is on the rise, and the government is supporting an increase of renewable energies in the national energy mix. To read more, please click on the link below:

About Energy

Japan is currently the world's largest liquefied natural gas importer and ranks in the top four countries for the highest coal imports, net imports of petroleum and other liquids, and consumption of crude oil and petroleum products. Japan has limited domestic energy resources that have met less than 10% of the country's total primary energy use each year since 2012. Japan's domestic energy resources met more than 20% of the country's total primary energy use before the removal of nuclear power following the Fukushima plant accident. Japan is the third largest oil consumer and net importer in the world behind the United States and China. To find out more, please see below:

Fossil Energy

Japan has a variety of renewable energy resources, including geothermal, hydropower, wind and solar energy as well as biomass. However, the country’s high population density and mountainous geography constrain available land for developing renewable energy projects, leaving good and available resources often in locations that are far away from population centres. For further reading, please click below:

Renewable Energy

Historically, Japan was one of the first countries to invest in smart grid research and development: in 2003, Japan founded the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which manages several smart grid-related projects. In 2014, the Japanese Ministry of Energy launched the National Resilience Programme which funded “independent demonstration projects” in areas such as “electric vehicles for mobility and storage, renewable energy production and storage systems, and energy efficiency optimization”.  To read more, please click on the link below: 

Smart Grid



The report titled "Solar energy, energy storage and virtual power plants in Japan" takes a close look at the characteristics and trends of this sector. In the COP21 held in Paris in December 2015, participating countries agreed to combat the climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by half by 2050, in order to keep the global warming under two degrees Celsius. Meeting this difficult target requires to make renewable energies the main source of power generation and move towards electric vehicles since the transport sector accounts for 23% of global GHG emissions. But it is also essential to reduce the primary energy consumption by means of increasing energy conservation and energy efficiency. To access the report, please click below:

Report: Solar energy, energy storage and virtual power plants in Japan

This report titled "The Japanese Clean Energy Sector Development" aims to provide European businesses with a comprehensive analysis of clean energies in Japan. It will look at to what extent clean energies have influenced or are capable of influencing Japan’s economy, notably in its relationship with Europe. One of the key purposes of this report is to gather enough relevant information to help understand the transformation currently underway in the electricity market.  To that end, it will highlight the challenges and the main factors that will need to be overcome to help establish a more effective and cleaner system. This study should also look at the concept of clean energy in the context of Japan to highlight possible areas of improvement that may have been neglected. For further reading, please click below: 

Report: The Japanese Clean Energy Sector Development

Past Webinar: 

Solar energy, energy storage and virtual power plants in Japan  

Japan was considered one of the more energy-efficient economies in the world, but exceptional energy efficiency and conservation efforts greatly helped Japan to deal with the energy emergency resulted after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and it has achieved to maintain these improvements after that through behavior change and policy measures. However, more efforts are needed in the residential and commercial sectors (demand side), in which GHG emissions have to be reduced by 39% and 40% respectively by 2030 compared to the levels in 2013. Please click on the following link to access the webinar's recording: 

Minerva Webinar: Solar energy, energy storage and virtual power plants in Japan