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Empowered? Evaluating Japan's national energy strategy under the DPJ administration
- Valentine, Scott, Sovacool, Benjamin K., Matsuura, Masahiro
- Energy policy 2011 v.39 no.3 pp. 1865-1876
- carbon dioxide, energy efficiency, energy policy, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, infrastructure, nuclear power, power generation, solar collectors, stakeholders, surveys, wind turbines, Japan
- In August 2009, after 54 years of virtually unbroken rule, Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was ousted from power by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). The DPJ's campaign platform included a pledge to facilitate extreme reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Yet, at the COP16 meeting in Cancun, Japan announced that it would not accept further emission reduction targets without broader commitment from all nations. This paper seeks to explain this dichotomy by employing a targeted stakeholder evaluation based on surveys with 321 Japanese citizens to assess the extent to which influential stakeholder groups in Japan supports a potentially costly transition to a low-carbon energy infrastructure amidst severe economic challenges that the nation faces. Findings help explain Japan's adversarial role in COP16 negotiations in Cancun, despite the stated GHG reduction ambitions of Japan's current ruling party. The analysis concludes that if the DPJ does embrace aggressive CO₂ reduction targets in the future, the strategic focus will likely mirror the former ruling party's energy policy of bolstering nuclear power generation capacity and promoting energy efficiency improvements while exhibiting lukewarm commitment to supporting capacity development in alternative sources of energy supply such as solar panels and wind turbines.