Overseas oil-development policy of resource-poor countries: A case study from Japan
Japan, currently the world's third largest oil consumer, depends on imports for almost all of its oil needs. Owing to this high level of dependence, Japanese citizens as well as the economy have historically been vulnerable. In the past, certain incidents caused by the interruption of oil imports have resulted in fatal damages to the country. In order to reduce these risks, the Japanese government has supported overseas exploration and development activities of the domestic upstream oil industry, which has not proven as successful as expected. This paper presents the experiences, policies, and the structure of Japan's attempts to increase the share of domestic oil needs met by development activities. While conducting this study, both internal and external constraints were encountered. In addition to the lack of domestic oil reserves, factors including the institutional design of cooperation between government and private industries, the early history of the upstream industry, the target area of overseas development, and the changing environment have created impediments toward achieving the targets. In 2006, Japan again set a new target for doubling the ratio of self-developed oil in its total imports by 2030, and will face challenges in clearing the above-mentioned hurdles.
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- Surrey, John, 1974. "Japan's uncertain energy prospects: the problem of import dependence," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 204-230, September.