Energy Shift Generates Hope, Anxiety

After the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the Japanese government vowed to eliminate allow atomic power by 2030.  Because of pressure from the rest of the world and the unknown fear of what the crisis could have led to, it is understandable that Japan made this vow.  However, after Japan call for a significant rise in renewable energy, people are no torn between being hopeful and anxious.
This decree could provide big economic opportunities for companies involved in renewable energy and energy-saving technologies.  Others are concerned about how this transition with take place.

Keigo Akimoto, a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo and an environmental policy researcher, says, “I think we should increase the use of renewable energy, but it is just too risky to place too much hope on it.”  He cites concerns over the stability of renewable energy, its output, how fast it will spread and the impact of the expected rise in electricity bills.

Many Japanese people are fearful of this new movement because they do not want to see another failed experiment.  Before the Fukushima disaster, Japan promoted the belief that nuclear power is safe, cheap, and clean.  Now, the Japanese government is in the process eliminating all atomic power by 2030.

Hiroshi Takahashi, research fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute, looks at this change as promising.  When asked about this change to renewable energy and power conservation, he asks, “Shouldn’t we shift to creating more value-added products that require less electricity?” This response shows Takahashi believer that the Japanese government is moving in the right direction.

I find this direction to be difficult, but an interesting.  Japan’s economy is currently experiencing many problems like deflation, a high deficit, a trade deficit, and the strength of the yen.  I definitely agree that the world needs to move towards finding a green energy solution.  However, I also find it troubling that Japan is considering to transform their industrial structure at this current juncture because the costs of doing this will be great.

One thought on “Energy Shift Generates Hope, Anxiety

  1. wilburns

    I think a piece from my term paper has a bit of relevance here:

    “Japan’s energy security before the Tohoku earthquake on 3/11 rested upon the hope offered by nuclear power, a hope to move away from over-dependence upon foreign oil and the risks that carries. This strategy took the form of the Basic Energy Plan (BEP) in 2010 and was designed to use nuclear energy production to slow the growing share of GDP that importing fossil fuels took from Japan’s economy. Unfortunately, as the situation currently stands, Japan is now sitting on (roughly) 47 GW of generating capacity that is, for all intents and purposes, largely unusable in the short term for political reasons. Of all the oil that Japan imported in 2011, 82% came from the Middle East (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2012). This was exactly the problem nuclear power was supposed to solve, and was to help Japan avoid making such diplomatically and economically risky decisions in the future.”

    Furthermore, METI has said that the increased electricity costs to consumers and producers will impact production by billions of dollars over 10 years.

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