Multicultural exchange : Activity report #6

Social Norm and SDGs in Japan about Energy

 Leo and Misaki


1.Basic information -Japan’s energy policy and social norm-
2. Energy saving measure in Japan
3. Discussion
4. Afterword


  1. Basic information -Japan’s energy policy and social norm-

  In Japan, the energy self-sufficiency rate is 13.3%, the lowest among G7 countries. This low rate indicates the proportion of primary energy required for daily life and economic activities that Japan can produce and secure domestically. The low energy self-sufficiency rate is due to Japan’s lack of natural resources. This situation has significant implications for Japan’s energy policy and social norms related to energy use.

Japan relies on imports for about 80% of its energy resources and since the oil shock of 1973, Japan has been diversifying its supply source and Japan imports fossil fuels from various countries not to be influenced by the conflicts and resource prices rise in other countries. Also, almost all of the income earned from automobiles and semiconductor manufacturing equipment is spent on importing crude oil and gas to secure energy resources. So, now Japan is striving to change this situation and shift towards an energy structure that strengthens the ability to generate income domestically.


  1. Energy saving measures in Japan

We introduced two Japanese electricity saving efforts and one initiative to promote renewable energy.

The first is Requesting power saving (節電要請). Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) calls for the need to save electricity before the supply and demand of electricity is likely to be critical. The flow of power saving requests is as follows: when spare capacity and the reserve ratio of supply to electricity demand during peak hours are expected to fall below 5 %, METI issues a warning said “Presentation Information for Electricity Supply and Demand Stress” (電力需給ひっ迫準備情報) on its website and several media 2 days prior to the anticipated day. Next day, if the reserve ratio is expected to fall below 5 % even on the previous day when supply and demand of electricity is expected to be stress, METI issues an official announcement said “Electricity supply-demand Stress Alert” (電力需給ひっ迫注意報) . Furthermore, if the reserve ratio is expected to fall below 3 %, METI issues an official announcement termed “Power Supply- Demand crunch Alert” (電力需給ひっ迫警報) to strengthen countermeasures for consumers.

The second effort is Energy Conservation Law (省エネ法). This is an act on the rational use of energy and conversion to non-fossil energy. Businesses consuming a certain amount of energy (1500 kl or more in crude oil equivalent) are obligated to report government with energy usage on a regular basis and let them review of energy conservation and non-fossil fuel or formulate plans.

The third initiative is Levy for renewable energy generation (再エネ賦課金). This is a government program to promote power generation from renewable energy sources, including solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal. Electric power companies are obliged to purchase electricity generated from renewable energy sources for a fixed period and at a fixed price. The cost of this purchase is charged to electricity users based on the amount of electricity used.


  1. Discussion

  We will introduce two of the discussion topics we have considered, here. Their home countries are China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, and France.

The first topic is “what is the electricity situation like in your country?” Today, our lab members mainly discussed primarily discussed summer situation in each country. To summarize what they said, in the past, many countries used or did not use fans, but now air conditioning has become a necessity in summer. A member from Laos told their lives would be endangered without fans due to temperatures exceeding 40 ℃ in recent years. Many also told as the air conditioners that are working so hard in commercial facilities and the temperature of inside and outside are very different. So, they feel uncomfortable going outside. we think this problem is more serious. We felt that we need to come up with a solution to this problem, as we felt that if this trend continues, it will have a negative impact on our lives, the economy, and industry. Also, our home country, Japan, when entering commercial facilities, we only feel cold in light summer clothes now, but summer temperatures are rising year after year in Japan and we don’t think it is a matter of concern for others.

The second topic is “Are there any systems in place to promote renewable energy in your country? If so, what are they?”. While many countries generate different percentages of their total renewable energy generation, many appeared to be making progress toward this widespread use and the type of renewable energy varied from country to country, such as solar, hydro, wind, and biomass. We felt that it would depend on the natural environment of each country and how much fossil fuels and other resources are available. Also, especially, solar power is being promoted in many countries. After hearing about the current situation of various renewable energies in each country, we think there are various issues that need to be addressed, but we hope that the spread of renewable energies will progress through cooperation in each country.


  1. Afterword

   In discussions with lab members, we also heard that his country sells electricity to other countries. In researching this topic, I learned that in Europe and North America, international interconnection lines have been installed and power is bought and sold between nations. We thought that Japan was not concerned because it is an island nation, but there are submarine interconnection lines already exist between the U.K. and Germany. So, we felt that there is a possibility that this will be done in Japan in the future and if so, the power situation in Japan would also have change.

   This time, the pre-determined discussion theme was norms on SDGs in my home country, and lab members pointed out that the content of this presentation was not about norms, and we realized that laws, regulations, and institutions were not norm in retrospect. If the theme was Japan’s energy norms, the presentation should have included information on how people are saving electricity. We are grateful to the lab members, because everyone gave us a variety of opinions despite the deviation from the content of the presentation. We will make use of this information in our next presentation. Thank you very much!!!


  1. References

[1]“The Situation Concerning Energy”, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, 2024,

[2] “Current State of Energy Policy”, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy, 2019,

[3] “Why use nuclear power ?”, Tohoku Electric Power Company,

[4]“What is the power supply and demand crunch warning?”, NHK, 2024,

[5]“Overview of Energy Conservation Law”, Agency of Natural Resources and Energy,

[6] “Why do we have to pay a “renewable energy levy” ?”, Shikoku Electric Power Company

[7]“Will international interconnection lines promote the spread of renewable energy?”, HATCH, 2019,