Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has asked the United States to quickly approve exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan. Motegi was in a meeting on Friday with Acting Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman to forward this request from the Japanese government, as the Asian country continues to look for cheap thermal energy sources. Japan’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels for power generation stems from the shutdown of the majority of the country’s nuclear reactors after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In a news conference after the meeting, Poneman said that he fully recognizes the urgency of the issue for Tokyo and said that the Energy Department will examine each project in line with U.S. law in a responsible manner. “I took these as very positive remarks,” Motegi said, adding that Japan hopes Washington will factor in the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance to the awaited approval. Speaking in front of a think tank forum in Washington earlier that day, the minister of economy, trade and industry of Japan emphasized the merits of approving LNG exports to Japan and other Asian economies. “The high natural gas price is the main cause for Japan to experience a trade deficit for the first time in 31 years. This price in Japan is four or five times higher than in the U.S.,” Motegi said. “If LNG can be imported from the U.S., with growing production of shale gas, it will make a lot of difference to Japan to be able to diversify its fuel-supply sources and shrink the price gap,” he added. “A new flow of LNG supply from the U.S. to Asia would be an essential game changer that would contribute to energy security as well as to economic and geopolitical stability in Asia,” he concluded.
Motegi also told the news conference that in the meeting with Poneman, they have agreed to strengthen U.S.-Japan cooperation in nuclear energy sources, as both are looking to launching a forum to discuss the safety of atomic energy. The nuclear disaster in 2011 weighs heavily on Japan’s psyche, affecting the nation’s decision of whether to restart the idled nuclear reactors or not. The minister also explained Japan’s undergoing processes to review the country’s energy strategy from scratch. Aside from the meeting with Poneman, Motegi also held talks on Friday with U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, and Alan Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.
[via Market Watch]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan