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Japan is calling on people and businesses to repeat the energy conservation drive from the summer this winter, as energy scarcity and LNG price inflation continue to take a toll.
Japanese citizens are being advised to turn off the lights in rooms they are not using and to wear an additional layer of clothing to keep warm, Bloomberg reports, citing the Japanese trade minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura.
The ministry is launching a special program to encourage these energy-saving measures, to run from December to March.
Japan is extremely poor in natural resources, which forces it to import almost all of its energy. What is particularly uncomfortable right now is that Russia is one of its biggest energy suppliers and there is no way for Japan to cut off all imports of oil and gas from its western neighbor, despite it being a member of the G7. As a member of the G7, Japan has supported the price cap plan of the group and, albeit only formally, a ban on Russian oil imports.
Indeed, this week, the FT published an interview with the chief executive of Japanese Itochu, in which he said that “Unlike Europe or the US, Japan depends on overseas for almost all of its energy needs so it’s not possible to cut off ties with Russia because of the sanctions.”
“In reality, we cannot survive unless we continue to import from Russia, even if the volumes are smaller,” Masahiro Okafuji also told the FT.
To secure energy supply, the Japanese government last month even changed the national fuel law so that state-owned agencies could procure LNG in case private buyers are unable to secure sufficient volumes. The trade ministry will also have the power to order a reduction in gas use for large companies in a tight supply situation.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.