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16 Sep News | Comments Off on

16th September – Last Nuclear Reactor Shutdown, Signalling a Move to Renewable Energy?

Today saw the halting of Japan’s last active nuclear reactor. In the early hours of Monday morning, activity ceased at the Ohi plant when reactor 4 was taken out of action. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that sparked the Fukishima plant meltdown all Japanese nuclear plants have now been closed. With no plans to restart any reactors until December at the earliest this will be the longest nuclear shut-down Japan has undergone since the 1960’s.

Pre-Fukishima, Japan’s energy policy placed a heavy emphasis on nuclear power, with 30% of the country’s electricity generated by nuclear energy. However, in July 2013 Prime Minister Abe made it clear that Japanese energy policy was shifting its focus to renewable energy sources for a safer approach to energy production and to reach their target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. With large multinationals such as Goldman Sachs investing $487 million, and the Japanese government themselves investing a tremendous 30 trillion yen, into the country’s renewable energy sector, it is obviously an area of huge growth.

As a consequence of this shift there are clear commercial opportunities for European technology companies to expand their product or service into Japan, both within the renewable energy sector and the development of smart technology. Japan has become one of the fastest-growing users of solar energy, with wind, tidal, geothermal and biomass energy production increasing in popularity as well. Additionally, with a growing focus on energy conservation and reduced consumption, smart communities are being established throughout Japan. Indeed, a recent study by Japanese academics estimated that the smart community market within Japan is to grow by 338% from 1.4 trillion yen (£8.9 billion) to 3.8 trillion yen (£24.3 billion) – around 7% of the global market.

If you’re a business in the renewable energy or smart technology sectors interested in the possibilities Japan presents then email us at or alternatively click here.