On June 29, 2016, the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan celebrated 50 years since its foundation. I would like to thank everyone both in and outside of Japan for their support.
The energy situation remains uncertain. Overseas, the turmoil in the Middle East and Ukraine is worsening, while the slowing Chinese economy and the UK's exit from the EU are overshadowing the global economy. Meanwhile, the drastic fall in oil prices, which is a major help for importing countries, is not only destabilizing some exporting countries but is also suppressing investment in development. Oil prices are sure to rise again eventually, but nobody knows when.
Recently in Japan, the Energy Mix was officially finalized, and under the new regulatory standards, safety assessments by the Nuclear Regulation Authority are proceeding slowly but steadily. The confusion in energy policies in the wake of the nuclear accident is gradually clearing, but it will not be easy to actually achieve the ideal Energy Mix. As for nuclear power, three reactors have restarted under the new safety regulatory scheme, but two other reactors which had undergone reviews and inspections by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) have now been forced to shut down due to the provisional disposition given by the Otsu District Court.
There are also many goals to be met for energies other than nuclear power, including the ambitious energy conservation target, lowering the cost of renewable energies, and keeping the liberalization of electricity and gas systems compatible with nuclear power plants.
Energy is an essential foundation of economic activity, yet Japan has very few energy resources, with a domestic energy ratio of just 6%. Securing a stable supply of energy at rational prices is a prerequisite for the growth of the Japanese economy. Meanwhile, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent global warming. These factors, collectively called the "3Es" (energy security, economic efficiency and environmental conservation) concern not only Japan but also all countries including the growth centers of Asia. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent, the situation in Japan and Asia will have a greater impact on other countries.
The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) has established a solid reputation in both Japan and overseas by formulating appropriate policy proposals on energy and the environment, which are based on objective analyses and the latest forecasts, by developing its human resources and strengthening ties with domestic and overseas organizations. We are highly honored to be ranked first this year among all energy and resource policy think tanks in a world ranking by the University of Pennsylvania. We will continue to steadily seek optimum solutions for contributing to economic growth, viewing the energy issue and climate change as two sides of the same coin and leveraging our close links with governments, experts and research agencies of both Japan and other countries. I sincerely hope that our timely analyses and policy proposals will help shape government policies and corporate strategies. In July and December each year, the IEEJ releases an analysis report on the short-term supply and demand for energy in Japan. Every October, it releases the "Asia/World Energy Outlook", which makes policy suggestions for Asia and the world for the medium to long term. We hope that these reports will help clarify the energy situation and be used to build policies and strategies for the future.
Taking the 50th anniversary as a good opportunity, the IEEJ will extend its activities in research and policy and strategy advice. I hope that our associates both in Japan and abroad will continue to support us in the future.
Chairman & CEO
The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan
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