Japan has been paying enormously for importing fossil fuels to replace shuttered nuclear power plants. And its future supply of oil remains in doubt, posing possible grave economic consequences for the country.
So in a stroke of realpolitik - realgeopolitik, really - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has returned from a tour of the Middle East where he has, you could say, bartered one form of energy for another in order to help secure a stable future for his natural resource-thin island nation.
Abe secured a deal with the United Arab Emirates earlier this month in which Japan will provide technology to help the UAE build four nuclear power plants, already under South Korean supervision. At the same time, the UAE and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashif al-Maktoum "also agreed to extend an oil concession agreement with Japan's Abu Dhabi Oil Co., adding a new zone," the Japan Times reported, citing UAE's WAM news agency.
The Japanese leader hopes to negotiate a similar agreement with Saudi Arabia, where he began his visit and. Abe "is emphaszing cooperation with Japan's Middle East partners to ensure Japan will continue to receive stable deliveries of oil from the region," the Japan Times wrote.
Some Japaneseas the U.S. becomes more energy independent and potentially grows less interested in maintaining Middle East stability.
Under a push by Abe, Japan is also expected to begin restarting some of its close nuclear reactors, although the likelihood of returning to a 30 percent nuclear scenario is uncertain. By exporting nuclear technology, Japan is looking after growth in a key area of its technological expertise. Japan this month also won an agreement to help Turkey build a new nuclear power station.
Photo from Wikimedia
More power from Japan, and nuclear emergence, on SmartPlanet:
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com