This column is being written later in my day than usual as I was completing a two-part interview with the NHK network, the PBS of Japan.
In two marathon sessions, their producers grilled me on every angle of energy for two one-hour documentaries they’re preparing for the end of May. The show is the Japanese version of “60 Minutes” and the most watched show in Japan.
The experience was fascinating but also focusing, because being questioned by the Japanese reminded me, if I ever forget, of the global nature of the energy question and the particular challenges that Japan faces.
This is clear because Japan is the third largest economy by GDP yet is the one developed nation I can think of with virtually zero domestic energy resources, save for some hydro assets in the North. Obviously, the geopolitical and financial events that affect energy motion and energy prices are of greater interest to the Japanese than most any other people, and in stark contrast to the bizarrely backwards energy policies here in the US.
These documentaries will be particularly closely watched because of the Fukashima nuclear crisis of 2011, which unleashed a deep debate inside Japan about the future of Nuclear energy in a nation that already depends upon imports of fossil fuels for the majority of their energy needs. Their desire to understand the financial inputs into prices of crude oil and natural gas as LNG is far more intense…