Japan lacks significant domestic sources of energy
and must import substantial amounts of crude oil, natural
other energy resources, including uranium. In 1990 the
dependence on imports for primary energy stood at more
percent. Its rapid industrial growth since the end of
World War II
had doubled energy consumption every five years. The use
had also changed qualitatively. In 1950 coal supplied half
Japan's energy needs, hydroelectricity one-third, and oil
In 1988 oil provided Japan with 57.3 percent of energy
18.1 percent, natural gas 10.1 percent, nuclear power 9.0
hydroelectic power 4.6 percent, geothermal power 0.1
1.3 percent came from other sources (see
During the 1960-72 period of accelerated growth, energy
grew much faster than GNP, doubling Japan's consumption of
energy. By 1976, with only 3 percent of the world's
Japan was consuming 6 percent of global energy supplies.
After the two oil crises of the 1970s, the pattern of
consumption in Japan changed from heavy dependence on oil
diversification to other forms of energy resources.
domestic oil consumption dropped slightly, from around 5.1
barrels of oil per day in the late 1970s to 4.9 million
day in 1990. While the country's use of oil is declining,
consumption of nuclear power and LNG has risen
Because domestic natural gas production is minimal, rising
is met by greater imports. Japan's main LNG suppliers in
Indonesia (51.3 percent), Malaysia (20.4 percent), Brunei
percent), Abu Dhabi (7.3 percent), and the United States
percent). Several Japanese industries, including electric
companies and steelmakers, switched from petroleum to
coal, most of
which is imported.
In 1990, the latest year for which complete statistics
available, Japan's total energy requirements were
428.2 million tons of petroleum equivalent. Of this total,
percent was imported. Consumption totaled 298 million
percent of which was used by industry; 23.3 percent by the
transportation sector; 26.6 percent for agricultural,
services, and other uses; and 3.3 percent for non-energy
as lubricating oil or asphalt.
In 1989 Japan was the world's third largest producer of
electricity. Most of the more than 3,300 power plants were
thermoelectric. About 75 percent of the available power
controlled by the ten major regional power utilities, of
Tokyo Electric Power Company was the world's largest.
rates in Japan were among the world's highest.
The Japanese were working to increase the availability
nuclear power in 1985. Although Japan was a late starter
field, it finally imported technology from the United
obtained uranium from Canada, France, South Africa, and
By 1991 the country had forty-two nuclear reactors in
with a total generating capacity of approximately 33
kilowatts. The ratio of nuclear power generation to total
electricity production increased from 2 percent in 1973 to
percent in 1990.
During the 1980s, Japan's nuclear power program was
opposed by environmental groups, particularly after the
Island accident in the United States. Other problems for
program were the rising costs of nuclear reactors and
huge investments necessary for fuel enrichment and
plants, reactor failures, and nuclear waste disposal.
Japan continued to build nuclear power plants. Of
energy sources, Japan has effectively exploited only
energy. The country had six geothermal power stations with
combined capacity of 133,000 kilowatts per hour in 1989.
Data as of January 1994