Energy crisis slams Japan as weak yen sends import costs surging -- Jul 05
The slump in the Japanese yen, the war in Ukraine and a heatwave in Tokyo are pushing the world's third-biggest economy toward a full-blown energy crisis.

Japan imports about 90 per cent of its energy, mostly priced in US dollars, and costs were already soaring from a jump in global oil, gas and coal prices, even before the yen fell to its lowest level in two decades.

The latest crisis has spurred debate over Japan's energy policies and power-market structure. On one side, it may add momentum to expand renewable energy. Japan's first two large-scale offshore wind farms, under construction by Marubeni Corp, are scheduled to come online this year, and a change to bidding rules could speed up new projects. While that could help decarbonize the energy mix, it threatens to add more instability to a grid that's already stretched.

The crisis has also revived debate over the use of nuclear power, long considered a touchy subject since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The government may seek ways to restart idled atomic plants, according to Noriaki Oba, president of Post-oil Strategy Institute in Tokyo. ...continue reading

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