As a result of the high cost of imported fuel, Japan’s current account registered a 367.9 billion yen monthly deficit in June, placing an extra burden on an economy that has contracted for two straight quarters after a sales tax increase in April.
In view of those numbers, some of Japan’s largest companies say nuclear energy is critical to their operations.
“How much longer do we need to endure?” a group of energy-intensive industries asked in a petition submitted to government ministers earlier this year. “We need to know the path for survival.”
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd. are among the member companies belonging to the 11 industry groups that were signatories to the petition.
The absence of nuclear has also set back the nation’s climate goals. Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions have been on the rise since 2010 as thermal power generation increased to make up for lost nuclear capacity and the economy recovered after the 2008 financial crisis. Greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.6 percent in fiscal 2013 compared with the previous year and are 8.5 percent higher than the year before Fukushima, according to preliminary data by the Ministry of the Environment released on Dec. 4.
That’s bad news as climate envoys from more than 190 countries gather in Lima, Peru to debate a framework to keep the earth’s temperature from rising. Countries are to submit plans on their contributions to climate change in the first quarter of 2015, if possible, toward a universal agreement.
Japan’s restart of approved nuclear power stations will be another important boost for its struggling economy, which has the potential to be one of Asia’s better performers in 2015.Back to top