Japan's use of fuel oil to generate power is set to fall over the next fiscal year to levels not seen since before the Fukushima disaster, if enough of the country's nuclear reactors are allowed back online.
Demand for low sulphur fuel oil has already dropped as Asia's largest listed power utility Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) leads a switch to coal and gas to cut costs.
Further falls will push product back into an over-supplied Asia-Pacific market, hitting prices and processing margins already expected to be weak due to refinery expansions in China and the Middle East.
Japan's low sulphur fuel oil imports rose to a 39-year high of 150,600 barrels per day (bpd) in the financial year that ended last March 31, but between April and November 2013 fell about a third from the same period the previous year, according to trade ministry data.
Japan is the largest importer of fuel oil for power use in Asia, taking more than twice the volumes of the next biggest user, South Korea, according to traders.
Japan's job availability rose in December to its best level in 22 years while the unemployment rate improved to 3.4 percent, suggesting that companies are willing to hire more workers as corporate profits recover, the government said Friday. (Kyodo)
A Nagoya University student who says she killed an elderly woman found dead in the 19-year-old's apartment has also admitted poisoning a former high school classmate, investigative sources said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Police in Saitama Prefecture said Thursday they have arrested 11 people who, as part of an organized scam group, call up individuals claiming that they had missed a payment for using a website that is actually free to use. (Japan Today)
Paul McCartney, who had to cancel all his concerts in Japan last year due to an illness, announced on his blog Thursday that he will return to Japan for four concerts in April as part of his "Out There" world tour. (Japan Today)
Police have arrested a 19-year-old girl on suspicion of killing a 77-year-old woman. The girl, who is a student at Nagoya University, was quoted by police as saying she wanted to kill someone and that anyone would do, NTV reported Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Last week, officers from the Yotsuya Police Station in Tokyo took Takahiro Arimoto, the 44-year-old manager of massage parlor Honey Candle and one other employee into custody for the harmful employment of minors, a violation under the Labor Standards Act. (Tokyo Reporter)
Workers have begun tearing down structures at a train station here that was devastated in the deadly tsunami of 2011, citing the danger of collapse they pose to the growing number of visitors to the site. (Asahi)