April 12, 2008

Japanese Resource Diplomacy

This article from JETRO (The Japanese External Trade Organization) provides a candid appraisal of the world’s projected energy demand by region up to the year 2030.

The report cites the IEA’s (the International Energy Agency - http://www.iea.org/) “World Energy Outlook 2004”, and forecasts that global energy demand will increase a little more than 50% by 2030 from 2002 levels. Among many other interesting facts, the report also reveals that by 2030, the world’s energy demand will triple from 1971 levels.

If nothing else, the report certainly provides an excellent glimpse of the Japanese government’s “cold-eyed” focus on the resource needs of its nation:

“As world demand for energy continues to rise, resource-poor country like Japan must face the reality of the world energy situation. Japan is a resource-poor country that generates only 16% of its energy needs and has to import nearly almost all of mineral resources. Although oil represents a far less important source of total energy consumption than in the 1970s (50% versus nearly 80%) Japan understands oil is a finite resource whose price is likely to rise over time.”

Perhaps most interesting, the report clearly reveals the likely tenor of Japan’s foreign policy in the coming years.

“To ensure adequate domestic supply, Japan is deepening its relationship with key supplier countries through personnel exchanges, joint research projects, and technological cooperation. It has also built up a crude oil reserve equal to around 170 days of supply and a liquefied petroleum gas stockpile equal to 50 days worth of imports. Furthermore, it has been promoting global dialogues, bilateral discussion with individual countries, and interactions with global energy organizations such as OPEC. The Japanese Government also has a determined policy to develop its own oil fields. As METI (http://www.meti.go.jp/english/) Minister Akira Amari recently stated at a news conference the Japanese government is prepared to actively engage in ‘natural resource diplomacy’.”



No comments: