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Journal of Energy
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4107614, 13 pages
Review Article

Japan’s 2014 Strategic Energy Plan: A Planned Energy System Transition

Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Jeffrey B. Kucharski

Received 13 February 2017; Accepted 11 May 2017; Published 12 June 2017

Academic Editor: Umberto Desideri

Copyright © 2017 Jeffrey B. Kucharski and Hironobu Unesaki. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study is a review and analysis of the Japanese government’s 2014 Strategic Energy Plan (SEP). As the first plan to be issued after the Fukushima disaster of March 2011, the 2014 plan incorporates policies that represent the most comprehensive and systematic changes ever proposed for Japan’s energy system. The study reviews the key elements of the plan, employing a framework that explains the nature and magnitude of the changes planned for Japan’s energy system and related institutions. The analysis demonstrates that the shock of the triple disaster opened up a window of opportunity in Japan’s policy environment for a fundamental change in energy policy, allowing for major reforms to the energy industrial structure and energy institutions. A unique aspect of this study is that it draws upon in-person interviews conducted with key government officials who were directly involved in the formulation of the SEP, providing new insights into Japan’s energy policy planning process and the drivers behind the planned reforms. Given the nature and magnitude of the potential changes implied in the SEP, this paper concludes that the 2014 SEP is best understood as a comprehensive blueprint toward a major planned transition of the Japanese energy system.