Policy Choices in Developed Countries: Two Japanese Views
The starting point for Japan’s energy strategy is her poor selfsufficiency in energy supply, and her high vulnerability to interruptions to imported supplies. In 1979 the proportion of energy selfsufficiency of Japan was as low as 14 per cent, the lowest among industrialised countries. Despite the limited size of the country Japan’s total population exceeds 100 million, for whom the indigenous resources are absolutely insufficient. Under these conditions Japan’s proportion of energy self-sufficiency will tend to be lower, the higher the growth rate of her economy. In other words, economic growth and energy self-sufficiency have a kind of inverse relationship. This is borne out by what has happened historically. During the ten years preceding the first oil crisis in 1973, Japan’s economy showed remarkable growth. As a result, however, Japan’s energy consumption doubled; and the proportion of energy self-sufficiency deteriorated to half the previous figure during the same period. If Japan’s economy continues to grow in the coming years, the proportion of energy self-sufficiency will inevitably decline further. I believe that this trend will probably last until or after the 21st century, when such alternative energies as solar energy and nuclear fusion can be expected to form the mainstream of energy supply.
KeywordsBiomass Europe Steam Uranium Shale
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