Paragon of Energy Efficiency, Green Growth Laggard
Despite compelling reasons to do so, Japanese policymakers have been reluctant to fully buy into a “green growth” strategy. One might have expected that the triple disasters of March 2011 – earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis – would lead to dramatic policy change. Yet, to date, the changes made have been modest. Also, it is puzzling that Japanese policymakers have yet to forge a national energy strategy that seeks to stimulate investment in renewables, address energy security and climate change concerns, exploit untapped renewable energy resources, and leverage the R&D prowess of Japanese firms. Despite their dominant position in the green car market, Japanese companies tend to under-punch their weight in most clean-tech markets. Why is this so? This country case study traces the evolution of Japan’s energy policymaking process through five stages, highlighting the ways politics, institutional inertia, and path dependencies have shaped and constrained policy change.
Keywords: Japan, Brown + Nuclear Coalition, regulatory capture, Fukushima crisis, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), “oil shocks, ” “efficiency superpower, ” “Top Runner Program”
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