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Shoko Oda
For Shoko Oda's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Vitol, the world's largest independent oil trader, is considering opening an office in Tokyo to trade electricity, sources said.
BUSINESS / Companies
Feb 16, 2024
Vitol considers entering Japan power market with Tokyo office
Japan's power market is attracting more overseas firms due to increased volatility amid shifts away from fossil fuels
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida prepares to speak at a COP28 session in Dubai on Friday.
JAPAN
Dec 2, 2023
Japan pledges to end construction of new unabated coal plants
The pledge comes after some nations called on attendees at COP28 to agree to immediately end new unabated coal-fired power generation.
Former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says Japanese firms' clean energy technology can speed up the country’s efforts to curb emissions.
BUSINESS / Tech
Nov 27, 2023
Japan’s tech leaders accelerate its climate actions, ex-PM says
Japan’s companies were once at the cutting edge of green technology but have been surpassed by Chinese producers.
A hydrogen storage tank and loading system at a liquefied hydrogen receiving terminal in Kobe
BUSINESS / Economy
Nov 27, 2023
U.K. concerned about Japan’s co-firing plans to curb emissions
The move 'prolongs the life of coal plants and leads to emissions,' said the head of climate change and energy at the British Embassy in Tokyo.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been meeting with Japanese buyers, as well as overseas suppliers, to urge the signing of more long-term LNG contracts.
BUSINESS / Companies
Nov 21, 2023
Japan urges LNG buyers to sign long-term deals for fuel security
The push is meant to insulate Japan from future supply shocks, as well as potentially harsher sanctions against Russian fuel exports.
A Jera thermal power plant
BUSINESS / Companies
Oct 6, 2023
Japan climate group calls for ban on top power firm's emission claims
The group says the ads may mislead consumers as Jera fails to mention that the ammonia the utility plans to use would emit CO2 during production.
A liquefied natural gas tanker is tugged toward a thermal power station in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture, in November 2017
BUSINESS
Sep 20, 2023
Japan’s dwindling LNG inventories could prompt new purchases
Storage held by Japan’s power suppliers fell to 1.62 million tons as of Sept. 17, according to data compiled by the trade ministry.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in June raised its stake in Japan's five major trading firms. All of them beat net-income estimates for the first quarter of the fiscal year.
BUSINESS / Companies
Aug 4, 2023
Buffett’s favored Japan trading firms post solid earnings
The five major trading firms all beat net-income estimates for the first quarter of the fiscal year in reports issued this week.
A Toyo Safety Industrial helmet with a built-in fan is showcased at Extreme Heat Countermeasures Exhibition in Tokyo in July.
BUSINESS
Jul 31, 2023
Fan-cooled beds and baby carriers among new gadgets to beat heat
At Tokyo’s annual trade show last week the focus was on how to keep workers in high-temperature environments cool and reduce the risk of heatstroke.
A wind turbine stands next to solar panels at a Banpu Power solar plant in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture.
ENVIRONMENT / Resources
Jul 25, 2023
Wind, solar and EVs offer Japan cheapest net zero climate path
In contrast to its G7 peers, Japan is still considering climate policies that extend the life of coal and gas-fired plants.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Economy
Jul 6, 2023
Seafood and beauty exports at risk over Fukushima waste disposal plan
China and Hong Kong, both major importers of Japanese goods, have reiterated concerns over the plan even after the International Atomic Energy Agency said the disposal strategy is safe.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 3, 2023
Japan set to release Fukushima water into Pacific, angering China
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director-General Rafael Grossi will visit Japan from Tuesday to deliver a final report on the safety of the process.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Politics
Apr 28, 2023
A small Japanese town sets new precedent for women in politics
Among the country’s city councils and assemblies, men held more than 80% of the total seats as of 2021. But in Ebetsu, more than 40% of the city council members are women.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Mar 10, 2023
Japan says no decision yet on chip export restrictions
Many U.S. allies are struggling to balance Washington’s concerns about China’s access to leading-edge technology with their reliance on the world’s biggest manufacturer.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Mar 8, 2023
Hold the mayo as Japan egg shortage hits McDonald’s to 7-Eleven
McDonald’s Japan’s Teritama Muffin — a breakfast sandwich that combines egg, sausage and teriyaki sauce — is now off the menu.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Mar 6, 2023
Nuclear power revival reaches Japan, home of the last meltdown
Faced with rising heating bills this winter after a sweltering summer spent worrying about blackouts, more people are now reappraising the benefits of cheaper and more stable energy.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jan 11, 2023
Samurai swords and ancient scrolls hit by global energy crisis
The Tokyo National Museum expects utility costs to more than double the budget allocated for this year ending in March.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Companies
Dec 16, 2022
Coal’s surge won’t stop Idemitsu selling Australian mine stake
The firm is in talks with several entities interested in acquiring its 85% stake in the Ensham mine in Queensland, said President Shunichi Kito.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Dec 2, 2022
Energy-poor Japan could set up liquefied natural gas reserve
The government will propose a plan to secure a so-called strategic buffer LNG, with authorities supporting local companies to buy excess supply for energy security.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Nov 21, 2022
Global LNG supplies are ‘sold out’ for years, Japan ministry warns
Countries around the world are scrambling to secure shipments of the power plant and heating fuel from major exporters like Qatar and the United States.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation