Developing a safer energy future for Japan
Japan’s energy distribution systems and infrastructure have been so stable for decades that the general public in Japan have not seen the need to discuss other forms of energy supply. In addition, the few non-governmental organizations and civic groups that were aware of the need for more sustainable energy production, failed to gain enough public understanding and support on their alternative energy policies or the dissemination of information on renewable energy. Because the intrinsic need for more sustainable energy has not been reflected in national energy policies, the energy shift from conventional (fossil fuels and nuclear power) to renewables in Japan has fallen behind those of other developed nations.
However, the great earthquake and the following tsunami incidents, the crisis in electricity supply and the very real danger of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear power reactors in March 2011 are an unprecedented tragedy that have highlighted the need for Japan to rethink its energy generation policy. Is it really sensible to continue generating nuclear power from reactors built on an earthquake fault line? Japan has myriad renewable energy resources and it is time to develop a safer alternative.
Thanks to the APE funding, Japan for Sustainability (JFS) will provide the general public in Japan with basic information on energy, world trend of renewable energy, case studies of successful initiatives shifting the energy provision to renewables, to help people understand the issue more clearly, in particular, Japan’s current unsustainable energy situation, from its infrastructure to government policy.
Now that risks in depending on nuclear power generation are being widely recognized because of the crises at the Fukushima nuclear reactors, JFS are proposing a ‘Declaration of Energy Shift Japan’ to encourage debate on energy provision and to convey the new citizens’ will for change, not least for businesses and government to change their behavior to reduce energy use and to review energy sources.
With this project, JFS hope people will become more aware of their daily energy use and refrain from consuming excessive energy beyond what they really need. The general public and citizen groups will pay attention to and monitor the energy use and sources (whether from fossil fuels and nuclear or renewables), which will create a momentum for industries to tackle an energy shift as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
This project will facilitate and build consensus to develop renewable energies such as geothermal, biomass and wind power, which utilizes the abundant geophysical resources of each area, and aims to increase energy sufficiency nationwide. Moreover, energy shift to renewables will contribute to decreasing economic disparities between urban and rural areas. Once local energy sufficiency level increases, it would lead to less necessity of energy supply models under control by a handful of energy giants. The trend will push national policies forward to support energy production and supply models at local levels.
As a footnote to these plans, JFS would like it to be noted that wind power generators are still working in spite of earquakes and tsunamis, and solar cars and solar power generation systems are being delivered to disaster areas. JFS will push the energy shift to renewables, so that we can say goodbye to nuclear power generation with all of its high risks.
Japan’s experiences of the energy crisis after the disaster will give the world important lessons about emergency response and opportunities for further energy saving.
JFS introduced the following articles reporting energy-saving efforts, public surveys on awareness on energy issues, the latest political decisions, etc.
- Japan’s Power Shortages and Countermeasures After the Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Crisis (April 2011)
- Japanese Companies Devising Ways to Deal with Electricity Shortages Caused by the Great Earthquake and Nuclear Accident (June 2011)
- Japan Adapts (and Remembers) Amid Power Shortages after 2011 Great Earthquake, Nuclear Accidents (July 2011)
- 2011 Summer Energy-Saving Efforts in Japan: “We Can Make It!”–Achievements and Success Factors (August 2011