Categories
Japan's energy sector

Japan’s new energy policy

Interview for The Economist

“Keeping the lights on – deregulation and Japan’s energy mix”

The interview is based on our reports:

Japan energy policy – interview outline:

Japan energy policy Question: Is the new energy policy of Japan’s Government an appropriate response to the situation or a missed opportunity

Answer summary:The Government in its new strategy summarizes Japan’s energy situation and proposes a cocktail of different energy sources. Everyone knows that Prime Minister Abe is pro-nuclear energy, but that does not mean that he is against other energy sources, such as renewables. The new energy strategy paper though misses KPIs, Key Performance Indicators. There are no many numerical targets.

Japan energy policy Question: It is often repeated that Japan is poor in energy sources, is this true?

Answer summary:Yes, that is often repeated without thinking, and thats also the case in the introduction of the new policy paper. This is only true as long as we restrict our view to traditional carbon based primary energy sources such as oil, gas, or coal. But if we widen the view to renewables such as wind, water, solar, biomass, and geo-thermal energy sources, then Japan is actually very rich in primary energy sources, and could even aim for energy self-sufficiency. Off-shore wind alone would be sufficient to make Japan energy self-sufficient.
Just by repeating the statement many times, that Japan is poor in energy sources, does not make this statement true.

The new energy policy paper also starts out by saying the Japan is poor in primary energy sources. This is not true if we widen the view to renewable energy sources.

Japan energy policy Question: Re-engineering the electricity grid. Can you explain the concept?

Answer summary:The electricity grid has evolved over many years, maybe 100-150 years. The traditional architecture of the electricity grid is a top-down one-way distribution network from large central power station such as large coal-, gas- or oil-fired power stations or nuclear power stations, to consumers. The traditional electricity grid is similar to the arteries in the human body, where there is the heart in the center, and the arteries distribute the blood to the extremities. This traditional top-down grid has served us very well for a long time, but the time as come now to evolve the grid to the next stage. There will be more distributed power generation, which feed in electricity in the opposite direction from the extremities, and there will be more intelligence in the grid.

Japan energy policy Question: How do you see Japan deal in the future with supply and demand management, how do you see electricity prices evolve in Japan?

Answer summary:With the liberalization there will be more flexibility in the pricing of electricity and supply and demand management. Prices will not necessarily go down, but will depend much more on the timing of demand, on demand/supply management, or on the value of electricity. For example, mission critical electricity consumers such as data centers or hospitals will need a different type of electricity supply, than washing machines in households. Demand/supply management and smart grid will manage the timing of less critical electricity usage.

Economist briefing “Keeping the lights on – deregulation, new and renewables and Japan’s energy mix” handouts

Japan energy market report:

Copyright 2014 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Corporate Governance

Corporate governance Japan: external independent directors on Japanese Boards

by Gerhard Fasol

Corporate governance Japan is now in the focus of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reforms

Reform of corporate governance is an ongoing issue in Japan, and part of Prime-Minister’s Abenomics’ “third arrow” revival efforts. Here is a note, that I added to a recent article in The Economist, entitled “Corporate governance in Japan – A revolution in the making“:

“Outside Directors” is only one step along the way to end the “inbreeding problem”. Bringing diversity into the management of Japanese companies is critical for growth in Japan: non-Japanese directors, women directors, non-Japanese women directors.

Corporate governance Japan: in the end the markets decide whether diversity is necessary, or whether in-breading wins

Of course the market decides: I believe that companies which do not bring in management diversity will find lower market capitalization than those which do.

I am European and independent Board Member of a Japanese company, traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Since all business and all board meetings are in Japanese, full command of business Japanese is necessary, including the ability to read a big volume of Japanese reports 100s of pages long sometimes from one day to the next.

Corporate governance Japan: very few non-Japanese are capable of functioning on the Board of a Japanese corporation

There are only very very few non-Japanese people with the qualifications to serve as independent Board Directors, who have the necessary full command of Japanese. So there is a substantial bottle neck against bringing diversity into Japanese corporations even if there was a strong pull from Japanese corporations. Currently only a few excellent Japanese corporations exercise this pull, to pull in non-Japanese external Board Members.

One company which is remarkably advanced is HitachiHitachi several outside and non-Japanese Board Members, including also one foreign woman recently.

Copyright 2014 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Japan's energy sector

Japan energy mix: Keeping the lights on in Japan – deregulation, new and renewable energy

Japan energy mix, smart grid, electricity deregulation – briefing by The Economist Corporate Network

Economist Corporate Network held a breakfast briefing today April 24, 2014 for about 50 Japan-CEOs and executives.

Shigeki (Sean) Miwa, General Manager of SoftBank’s CEO Office, and Representative Director & CEO of Bloom Energy Japan KK, and EVP of SB Energy Corporation

Mr Shigeki (Sean) Miwa, General Manager of SoftBank’s CEO Office, and Representative Director & CEO of Bloom Energy Japan KK, and EVP of SB Energy Corporation, explained SoftBank’s and Masayoshi Son’s reasons for entering the energy business, and he explained Bloom Energy’s offering of energy sources based on very efficient fuel cells in Japan.

Gerhard Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology-Japan

Gerhard Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology-Japan, gave an overview of Japan’s energy situation, and an outlook into the future. Here is an interview by The Economist after the breakfast briefing:

You can find detailed data and analysis in our report on Japan’s energy sector, and on Japan’s renewable energy sector.

Renewable energy Japan – research report

Japan energy market report:

Copyright 2014 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile

Vodafone not so big in Japan – The Economist says

The Economist looks at Vodafone’s real situation in Japan’s very advanced and hyper-competitive telecommunications market

Vodafone not so big in Japan: Vodafone is struggling to catch up with Docomo’s introduction of 3G in Japan

An article in The Economist about Vodafone is partly based on our analysis:

Vodafone not so big in Japan: “Vodafone- Not so big in Japan” (The Economist, Sept 30th, 2004)

Understand Softbank: our report: “SoftBank today and 300 year vision”

pdf file, approx 120 pages, 47 figures 18 photos, 7 tables

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