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Policies to improve energy and environmental security, resilience, and reliability (II/V): a case study on Japan

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By Venera N. Anderson

· 5 min read


This is the second part of a five-part research paper on improving energy and environmental security, resiliency, and reliability situations in Japan. You can find part one here, part three here, part four here, and part five here.

The literature review is comprised of two sections. The first section describes the current literature on Japanese energy security, resilience, and reliability. In contrast, the second section familiarizes readers with the studies related to environmental security, resilience, and reliability issues. As indicated below, the literature review begins with an assessment of the energy-related problems in Japan. 

Energy security, resilience, and reliability

Energy security is “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price” (IEA, 2023a, para.1). This issue remains a priority for Japanese energy policy, national security, and defense strategies (NSS, 2022; JMD, 2022; IEA, 2021). METI (2019) describes cybersecurity guidelines for the energy aggregation sector (2019). Shiratori (2022) outlines three main challenges of the Japanese energy security situation: natural resources scarcity, electricity supply insecurity during the energy transition, and uncertainty about Russia as a stable energy supplier. Hugo and Kusumawarhana (2023) stress enhancing Japanese energy policy, diplomacy, and international cooperation to reach its energy security goals. Using an energy system optimization model, Otsuki et al. (2022) examined various cost-effective energy strategies to achieve Japan’s carbon neutrality by 2050. The simulation results implied that a carefully balanced power generation mix, consisting of nuclear, renewables (RE), ammonia-fired, and gas-fired with carbon capture and storage (CCS), could assist in reducing mitigation costs. Shiraishi et al. (2023) claim that cost reductions in renewables (RE) and battery storage can help Japan obtain 90% of its electricity from clean electricity, thus meeting energy security and carbon neutrality goals. In contrast, IIEJ (2023) stresses the importance of liquified natural gas (LNG)’s upstream investment and supply and related growth of blue hydrogen and ammonia to ensure Japanese energy security.

Energy resilience represents the energy system’s capacity for preparing, avoiding, minimizing, adapting, and recovering from sudden and predictable energy disturbances to guarantee the system’s dependability and accessibility adequate for mission readiness and assurance (CLS, n.d.). IEA (2021) describes the recent Japanese steps for strengthening its split electricity system, which has two frequency areas (50 Hz and 60 Hz), ten regional grids, and no cross-border interconnections. Ko et al. (2019) evaluate the potential for disaster-triggered community responses at regional and local levels, in four developed countries in the Asia-Pacific region, against the criteria for resilient energy systems. Cong and Gomi (2020) present evidence for energy resilience development in Fukushima prefecture after the 2011 earthquake. Esteban & Portugal-Pereira (2014) explain their assessment of the feasibility of a 100% renewable energy electricity system, which could enhance Japanese energy resilience. Ahl et al. (2020) present a Japanese case study on using blockchain technology in energy systems. Sullivan (2022) explains that energy resilience can be enhanced through the effective preventative measures of preparing for highly variable weather by becoming “anti-fragile.”

Energy reliability is the power system's capability to survive various uncontrolled events, volatility, growing failures, and sudden loss of the power system's components (DOE, 2023). IEA (2021) describes the opportunities and challenges for Japanese energy reliability considering its energy system's complexity, ongoing energy transition, and the impact of the recent natural disasters on its power outages. Knuepher et al. (2022) describe the results obtained by their proprietary Energy Systems simulation model: 1) the misalignment between the development of new electricity generation capacity and the 5th Strategic Energy Plan's targets for generation share; and 2) no impact on energy reliability due to the regulatory shift to merit order dispatch, renewables and away from nuclear power. Lastly, McIlwaine et al. (2021) review embedded and distributed energy storage for energy systems. Next sub-section discusses environmental issues.

Environmental security, resilience, and reliability

First, environmental security is the ability of a society or a nation to endure environmental risks; asset scarcity (water, food, shelter); conflicts; and other adverse changes (Chalecki, 2002; Goodman, 2012). Trombetta (2008) delineates the discourse on environmental security and climate change. Sekiyama (2020; 2023) discusses Japan’s lack of focus on environmental security until the 2020s. NSS (2022) outlines climate change, food problems, and environmental risks as current priorities for national security strategy. JMD (2022) describes the new Climate Change Taskforce, which analyzes the impact of climate change on Japan’s security. Second, environmental resilience is an ecosystem’s agile ability for environmental damage resistance, quick recovery, and reorganization while transforming into a system with identical structure, function, feedback, and identity (CSU, 2023). Osman (2021) analyzes the concepts of environmental resilience and resilient cities, applying more than 130 resilience indicators across Japanese local governments. Hunt (2009) discusses the importance of integrated policies (engineering, medical, social) for environmental resilience and sustainability. Ebisudani (2016) verifies the characteristics for developing various types of regional resilience in Japan. 

Lastly, environmental reliability is its capacity to affect a country’s various situations in a reliable or disruptive manner, namely through earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and cyclones (Sullivan, 2023). JMS (2020) describes trends in cyclones and extreme waves in Japan. Mavrodieva and Shaw (2020) discuss disaster risk and climate change policies, emphasizing adaptation and inclusiveness under the Japanese “Society 5.0.” government strategy in cooperation with the private sector. The next section proposed sectoral policy options applicable to Japan.

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Dr. Venera N. Anderson is a global strategy advisor and published author on sustainability and climate issues. She creates and implements innovative solutions that address the world’s most pressing issues, such as climate change, economic development, and humanitarian challenges. She is a member of the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council. Venera is a co-author of the "Touching Hydrogen Future" book (2nd edition). She is also an International Expert at Women in Green Hydrogen, a global network which strives to increase the visibility and amplify the voices of women working in the green hydrogen sector, and a Speaker at Tech Up for Women and the Wall Street Green Summit about her vision for coastal U.S. green hydrogen hubs.

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