While there have been heated discussions over what to do with Japan’s nuclear power generation, it is important for the government not only to promote development of green energy sources but also to make serious efforts to exploit new fossil fuel resources, especially in the ocean, to operate the thermal power plants substituting for most of Japan’s nuclear power plants now being kept offline.

On Oct. 3, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. extracted shale oil on a trial basis from 1,800-meter-deep bedrock in the Ayukawa gas field in Akita Prefecture. But the estimated total shale oil deposits in the prefecture is equivalent to slightly less than 10 percent of the oil Japan consumes in one year. The Natural Resources and Energy Agency says that the shale oil in the prefecture will not contribute much to improving Japan’s energy self-sufficiency.

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