Happy New Year!
Last June, the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, feted its 50th anniversary. We successfully implemented commemorative events including two international symposiums in May and December, the publication of the 50th Anniversary Special Issue of the IEEJ Energy Journal including contributions from Japanese and foreign distinguished fellows, and energy dialogues with university students. I thank you for guiding and supporting us in this regard.
After the energy situation including the oil price trend and geopolitical destabilization grew uncertain in 2016, the 2017 situation may be even more difficult to predict.
In the international arena, policies that the new U.S. administration would adopt for relations with China, Russia and the Middle East will attract attention. Its stance on climate change is also a matter of concern. As for crude oil prices, we will have to closely watch how the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC oil producing countries will implement their coordinated production cut agreement achieved late last year and how oil supply and demand would be balanced. In Japan, meanwhile, the realization of the energy mix decided in 2015 will enter a crucial stage. As for nuclear energy, the new Nuclear Regulatory Authority has concluded that five nuclear reactors could be restarted under new safety regulations. However, the restart of two among them has been suspended due to the Otsu District Court’s injunction against their operation despite the NRA’s completion of safety screening and inspections.
In addition to these nuclear problems, Japan faces many other energy challenges including ambitious energy conservation targets, renewable energy cost cuts and the compatibility between reoperating nuclear power plants and electricity and gas deregulation.
While energy is part of key economic infrastructure, Japan is a resource-poor country with its energy self-sufficiency rate limited to 6%. Securing stable energy supply and supplying at reasonable energy prices are a basic premise for Japan’s economic development. At the same time, appropriate measures are required to prevent global warming. The so-called 3E’s -- energy security, economic efficiency and environmental protection -- represent a key challenge not only for Japan but also for the world including growing Asian countries. In the highly interdependent international community, Japanese and Asian trends greatly influence the world.
Our institute has established a strong presence in Japan and abroad by conducting objective analysis of facts and providing appropriate policy proposals based on future outlooks regarding energy and environmental policies in a manner to meet the requirements of the times. We will continue to take advantage of our close network with governments, business communities, experts and research organizations in Japan and abroad to find optimum solutions contributing to economic growth while interpreting energy and climate change problems as two sides of the same coin. We will try to provide research analysis and policy proposals to make timely contributions to developing policies and business strategies. Particularly, we publish a short-term energy supply and demand outlook for Japan every July and December and “Asia/World Energy Outlook” focusing on policy messages for Asia and the world every October. We hope that these publications will be helpful for understanding the uncertain energy situation and considering policies and strategies for the future.
In its 51st year, our institute would like to further enhance research, and policy and strategy proposals, while envisioning energy situation changes in the next 50 years. We ask for your redoubled support and guidance in the relevant communities in Japan and abroad.
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