Japan's Inpex to join nuclear fusion race with startup investments

Oil explorer eyes tie-ups with trio of companies to try to narrow Western rivals' lead

Nikkei -- Apr 02
Top Japanese oil and gas explorer Inpex will lay the groundwork for a move into the emerging technology of nuclear fusion as early as this year, Nikkei has learned.

Inpex aims to invest in several startups in Japan, including Kyoto Fusioneering in Kyoto, EX-Fusion in Osaka, and Helical Fusion in Tokyo. It is also in talks with overseas startups.

These would mark the first investments by a major Japanese company in a nuclear fusion developer. Inpex plans to invest several hundred millions of yen in each company and gradually raise the amount of funds up to tens of billions of yen.

Nuclear fusion generation is considered to be safer than nuclear power generation and is expected to play an important role in decarbonization and energy security. Japan currently lags behind Western peers in this field.

Tokyo aims to commercialize nuclear fusion generation in the 2040s and Inpex shares this target.