Japan in Focus

Japan in Focus

21st May 2019

Coal still plays a fundamental role in providing baseload electricity and acting as a critical building block for many economies.

In the first of our snapshot series exploring coal’s role in countries across the globe, we take a look at Japan – the third-largest economy in the world and home to more than 120 million people.

Key energy facts

  • Given the size of its economy and advanced manufacturing sectors, Japan remains the world’s fifth-largest energy consumer.
  • In 2017, fossil fuels made up 92% of the country’s energy demand.

Electricity outlook

  • In 2017, coal was the second largest source of electricity accounting for 33% of total generation.
  • Japan’s 2018 Basic Energy Plan recognises coal as an important, reliable and low-cost baseload power source.
  • Japan has 20 GW of new coal-fired ultra-supercritical (USC) capacity already planned or under construction.

Low-carbon technology leadership

  • As part of its climate pledge, Japan has committed to a 26%-reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.
  • Japan has some of the most advanced power plants in the world. Unit 2 at J-POWER’s Isogo Thermal Power Station has a gross thermal efficiency of 45%.
  • The Japanese government intends to support the deployment of high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal technologies overseas.
  • Since 2008, the country has engaged in several activities to promote carbon capture use and storage (CCUS): 1) the large-scale Tomakomai demonstration project; 2) various R&D projects; 3) surveys for potential CO2 storage sites.
  • The Basic Energy Plan promotes the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies including CCUS and IGCC to meet GHG national emissions targets.