S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Institute for Japanese Studies(일본연구소) Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies vol.4 no.1(2018)
Japans Energy Policy under Abe: Liberalization of the Energy Market and Nuclear U-turn
- Lim, Eunjung
- Issue Date
- Seoul Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol.4 No.1, pp. 103-131
- Abe Shinzō; Japan; energy policy; Liberalization of the energy market; restarting nuclear reactors
- The purpose of this paper is to analyze the direction and background of energy policy under the Abe administration, which has achieved a long-term hold on power by prioritizing reconstruction of the Japanese economy. Japan encountered an opportunity to conduct a major shift in energy policy through the Fukushima nuclear accident that occurred following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. However, the Democratic Party of Japan, then the ruling party, failed politically, allowing Abe and the Liberal Democratic Party to regain power, and Japans energy policy has since been characterized by liberalization of the energy market and a return to pre-Fukushima nuclear policy. It may be difficult to understand why the Abe administration decided on such a nuclear U-turn. It can be concluded that this reflects concerns regarding damage to energy and environmental security, political pressure from nuclear host communities, and international apprehension over Japans accumulating stockpile of plutonium. Liberalization of the energy market is leading to fierce competition among large corporations, and the Japanese energy market is expected to become more dependent on gas and nuclear power for the time being. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these developments for South Korea, which is aiming for energy policy transition under Moon Jae-ins leadership.