Sasakawa USA and Sasakawa Peace Foundation jointly commemorated the release of the Japanese language executive summary of Japan’s Energy Conundrum with an October 23 seminar at Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s International Conference Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The public event was attended by 160 people, including government officials, academics, and industry experts. The event featured Japan-based contributors to the book and other experts, most notably International Energy Agency Executive Director, Dr. Fatih Birol.
Following opening remarks from Sasakawa Peace Foundation Chairman Nobuo Tanaka, Dr. Phyllis Genther Yoshida, Sasakawa USA’s Senior Fellow for Energy and Technology, provided a keynote address at the start of the seminar. In her address, Dr. Yoshida outlined the objectives of the book and highlighted recommendations and key insights from the various authors. Dr. Yoshida noted that the interaction between energy and the environment is the most important challenge facing Japan’s energy policy, and drew attention to the ongoing debate on whether or not Japan should develop a civil nuclear power industry. While Japan can’t escape its energy conundrum, noted Dr. Yoshida, it can mitigate some of its energy concerns by adjusting its energy markets.
Dr. Yoshida’s address was followed by two panel discussions. The first, “Japan’s current energy security issues,” featured book contributor Yukari Yamashita of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, along with Dr. Satoshi Fujii of Kyoto University and Shota Kobayashi of Enel X. Book contributor Jun Arima, Tokyo University, moderated this panel, which focused on the limitations of Japan’s energy policies given its aging population, high energy costs, and the need for greater resilience to natural disasters.
The second panel looked at “Japan’s energy security in the future,” and included contributor Dr. Robert Feldman of the Tokyo University of Science and Technology, Yasuyo Yamazaki of Sun-Based Economy Association, and Nobuo Tanaka. Tokyo University’s Dr. Hideaki Shiroyama moderated this panel. In his remarks, Dr. Feldman explained that although Japan experienced an energy “miracle” when it shut down its nuclear reactors but managed to keep greenhouse gas emissions at the same level, one miracle is not sufficient to resolve the country’s energy woes. Yamazaki proposed a plan for energy connectivity throughout Northeast Asia, while Tanaka focused on the need to learn from recent power outages and reform Japan’s electricity infrastructure.
The final seminar session was an engaging discussion between Tanaka and Dr. Birol. The discussion covered global energy issues more broadly and covered topics such as oil supply and demand; increased global greenhouse emissions at a time when targets are decreasing; and air pollution concerns in developing countries. According to Dr. Birol, some of these issues also present opportunities. For example, if developing countries switch to renewable and clean energy, air pollution will subside, improving life for citizens and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The seminar concluded with audience Q&A.
Japan’s Energy Conundrum tackles Japan’s attempts to manage and balance domestic supply and demand for energy, changing global energy markets, its climate change goals, and its overall energy security in the years after March 11, 2011. Through evaluating Japan’s energy situation, the book assesses the challenges that remain, provides recommendations for Japan going forward, and suggests areas of potential U.S.-Japan cooperation to help both countries achieve their energy goals.
Download the Japanese language executive summary.
14:00 | Opening Remarks
14:05 | Keynote speech on “Japan’s Energy Conundrum” by Dr. Phyllis G. Yoshida
14:35 | Panel discussion: “Japan’s Energy at Risk”
15:40 | Break
15:50 | Panel discussion: “Japan’s Energy in 2030”
17:00 | Closing keynote by Fatih Birol
Jun Arima, Professor, University of Tokyo
Fatih Birol, Executive Director, The International Energy Agency
Robert Feldman, Senior Advisor, Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities
Sou Fujii, Professor, Kyoto University
Shota Kobayashi, Manager, Market Development, Enel X
Hideaki Shiroyama, Professor, University of Tokyo
Nobuo Tanaka, Chairman, Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Yukari Yamashita, Executive Director, IEEJ
Yasuyo Yamazaki, Representative, Sun-Based Economy Association
Phyllis Genther Yoshida, Senior Fellow for Energy and Technology, Sasakawa USA