Japan’s 2015 oil imports fell to the lowest since 1988, reflecting the country’s declining population and low economic growth while at the same time its natural gas imports fell for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Yet in the same year that the world agreed to combat climate change, Japan’s utilities continued to increase the use of the cheapest but dirtiest fossil fuel, ramping up coal imports to a record. Continuing a steady decline since the mid-1990s, Japan’s crude oil imports last year fell 2.3 percent to 3.37 million barrels per day (195.499 million kilolitres), official figures released on Monday showed.

Similarly, Japan’s power generation fell for a fifth straight year in 2015 to 866.26 billion kilowatt hours, the lowest since at least 1998.

The declines reflect deep changes in Japanese society since an asset bubble burst in the 1990s and its population declines and people change the way they consume energy.

Young Japanese drive less than their parents, and many new cars are electric-gasoline hybrids, cutting oil demand. Read the full article >

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