Fundamental Law on Energy Policy (Basic Act on Energy Policy) and its Strategic Plans (Law No. 71 of 2002)
A lawmaker-initiated legislation, this Law sought to set out the country’s fundamental and overall energy policy direction after the approval of the Diet. It sets the principles on the use of market mechanisms to encourage a secure and more environmentally friendly supply of energy. It provides that the State has a responsibility to create overarching energy plans (‘Strategic Energy Plan’, or ‘Basic Energy Plan’) and commit to reducing environmental impacts. The role of subnational governments is to implement the national measures in own jurisdiction.
A Strategic Energy Plan sets out basic energy measures, long-term and comprehensive measures and research and development needed to achieve the above. The Plan is sent to discussion and adoption by the Diet, and to date four plans have been adopted (October 2003, March 2007, June 2010, April 2014).
The Fourth Strategic Energy Plan (April 2014) added safety into the basic policy perspective, on top of the 3 elements (‘the 3Es’) mentioned in the previous plans: energy security, economic efficiency and environment (collectively known as ‘3E+S’). Diversification of energy sources and flexible and efficient energy demand structure are the two basic pillars of energy policy, reflecting the learning from the 2011 energy crisis. Promotion of resilient energy supply structure and improvement of self-sufficiency of energy supply are emphasised as national interest for energy policy.
In particular, the Fourth Strategic Energy Plan sets the following targets:
- Efficient lighting equipment (e.g. LED lighting and organic EL lighting): target “penetration rate of 100% on a flow basis by 2020 and on a stock basis by 2030” (page 39)
- Low-emission vehicles: target increase in the “ratio of next-generation vehicles to all new vehicles to 50%-70% by 2030 while promoting comprehensive measures, including steps to improve traffic flow such as the development of loop routes and other trunk road networks and introduction of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), which will contribute to energy efficiency” (page 40)
- Storage batteries: promote introduction by “lowering their cost and improving their performance through technological development and international standardization so that Japanese companies related to the storage battery business will capture a share of 50% in the global storage battery market (20 trillion yen) by 2020” (page 76)
- Fuel cell vehicles: “promote installation of hydrogen refuelling stations, targeted increase in the share of next-generation vehicles to 50-70% of all new vehicles by 2030” (page 68)