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.
As if accommodating Chinese visitors on their usual shopping sprees weren't enough, major Japanese retailers are now actively working to lure this demographic to their storefronts for the Lunar New Year. (Nikkei)
Sharp Corp. and Hon Hai Precison Industry Co. on Friday signed a contract granting the Taiwan electronics giant preferential rights to negotiate over a bailout plan for the struggling Japanese company. (the-japan-news.com)
Japan and Iran signed a bilateral investment pact Friday in a move aimed at helping Japanese firms do business in the resource-rich country amid intensifying foreign competition for its market access. (Kyodo)
Police referred a 16-year-old high school student to prosecutors on Friday on suspicion of using software on other people's computers to obtain the online account details of several hundred people, including records of their online shopping. (Japan Times)
Author Victor Hugo once said, "Virtue has a veil, vice a mask," but what if Japanese, contemporary, and fetish masks are your vice? You'll want to check out Tokyo Mask Festival Vol. 2! (rocketnews24.com)
Wakayama Prefectural Police have arrest of two members of the Takumi-gumi organized crime group for the robbery of a jewelry store in Wakayama City two years ago, reports Wakayama Broadcasting System (Feb. 4). (Tokyo Reporter)