By Michael Wesley
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Extra resources for Energy Security in Asia (Routledge Security in Asia Pacific Series)
There were few occasions, either bilaterally or multilaterally, for Japan and India to interact closely and share either political or economic interests. Even relations with Russia and its extensive energy assets are complicated. Unresolved territorial issues and generally troubled relations with Russia stand in the way of Japan securing access to these vital resources. Finally, countries like China and India often see Japan as a political surrogate of the US through its alliance relationship. In their eyes and in many others, Japan is not seen as an independent player in the region or indeed in world politics.
Despite this the situation remains volatile. Despite the setbacks, Japan has had some success in reducing its dependence on oil. This has been achieved through energy diversification involving natural gas and nuclear power. Diversification and conservation has resulted in Japan’s dependence on oil being reduced to approximately 50 per cent of its total energy requirements. However, overall energy self-sufficiency remains low at around 4 per cent. The self-sufficiency rate rises to 20 per cent if nuclear power capabilities are included in this assessment.
Burying spent fuel and reprocessing of nuclear fuel is a major issue (The Yomiuri Shinbun, 2005c). Nuclear fuel recycling is Japan’s national policy, but there are problems of jurisdictional authority between the national government and the local governments over where power plants are located. The energy issue 34 Purnendra Jain has become a focus of dispute between central and local governments. The plan to revive the controversial plutonium reprocessing plant at the remote village of Rokkasho-mura, in Japan’s northern Aomori prefecture, sparked a major debate about Japan’s commitment to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty.
Energy Security in Asia (Routledge Security in Asia Pacific Series) by Michael Wesley