Japan

Index rank 16

Balance Score

ABB

Energy Sustainability Index Rankings and Balance Score

 2011  2012  2013  Trend Score
Energy Performance  14  13  14   
Energy Security  46  49  48  B
Energy Equity  8  9  17  A
Environmental Sustainability  31  29  33  B
         
Contextual Performance  29  30  32   
Political Strength  18  22  22   
Societal Strength  17  12  12   
Economic Strength  59  65  71   
         
Overall Rank  13  14  16  ABB
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Fossil Fuel Reserves

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Key Metrics

Industrial sector (% of GDP) 27.5
TPEP / TPEC  (net energy importer) 0.19
Emission intensity (kg CO2 per USD) 0.29
Energy affordability (USD per kWh) 0.28
GDP / capita (PPP, USD); GDP Group 34,853 (I)
Energy intensity (million BTU per USD) 0.12
CO2 emissions (metric tons CO2 per capita) 8.71
Population Access to Electricity (%) 100.0
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Index Commentary

Japan’s overall Index ranking slips two places this year, a change mainly driven by slight drops in energy equity, environmental sustainability and economic strength. Japan continues to balance the three sides of the energy trilemma well, although the resource-poor country’s energy security ranking lags slightly. Overall energy security performance remains largely unchanged as the energy importer continues to struggle with unfavourable total energy production to consumption and therefore import to export ratios. While the electricity fuel mix remains quite diverse, it should be noted that the full effects of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident are not yet entirely realized in the data (which use the most current numbers available); as a result of that crisis, many of the country’s nuclear reactors remain closed and the future of nuclear power in Japan remains uncertain. Japan’s rank on the energy equity dimension falls this year due to increased energy prices and a slight dip in the perceived quality and reliability of electricity. Environmental sustainability performance is essentially flat, but ranks slightly lower this year because of outperformance by other countries. Contextually, indicators of political and societal strength repeat their outstanding performance for yet another year, while economic strength continues to decline, due to weakening macroeconomic stability and the continued high cost of living.

Trends and Outlook

Most recent energy policy developments include the implementation of a feed-in tariff (FIT) system as of July 1, 2012 which is expected to increase the penetration of renewable energies, such as solar PV and wind. However, the FIT system is viewed with some criticism, as purchasing prices are set high based on the estimated cost of individual renewable energies and a heavy burden on household’s (including households on welfare) electricity bill is expected. Also there are concerns that the domestic PV will not be able to compete against lower-cost imports in the national market.

In December 2012 Japan’s government changed. The new, liberal Government is reversing the previous policy of abolishing nuclear power. Under a new nuclear safety standard, Japan plans to restart nuclear plants where safety has been confirmed. In July 2013 a newly established independent organisation, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), started to accept applications from nuclear operators (electric power companies) to undergo safety examinations based on the new standard including severe accident management.

However, the future composition of Japan’s energy sector, especially the future of nuclear power, is still unclear as some questions remain 1) will the NRA implement the new safety standard practically and properly using present reviewers, and 2) can agreements on the restart from neighbouring municipalities and prefectural governors be obtained easily?