Japan ranked as the second largest net importer of fossil fuels in the world in 2012, trailing only China, according to the Energy Information Agency.
This follows the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, after which Japan suspended operations at all of its nuclear power plants. The loss of nuclear capacity resulted in a shift in Japan’s energy mix toward oil and natural gas, the EIA said.
Japan is now the third largest oil consumer and importer in the world behind the United States and China.
It is now the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and second largest importer of coal behind China.
“Japan has limited domestic energy resources, and the country meets less than 15% of its own total primary energy use from domestic sources,” the EIA said.
Japan was the third largest net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in the world after the United States and China in 2012, having imported 4.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d).
After Fukushima, Japan increased imports of crude oil for direct burn in power plants.
The country is primarily dependent on the Middle East for its crude oil imports, with 83% of Japanese crude oil imports originating from the Middle East in 2012, up from 70% in the mid-1980s.
Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of oil to Japan, making up 33% of the import portfolio, or over 1.2 million bbl/d of crude oil. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran are other notable sources of oil to Japan.
In 2012, Japan consumed 4.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas, up 50% from the 2000 level.
Japan was the world’s largest LNG importer in 2012 and accounted for 37% of global LNG demand in 2012, up from 33% in 2011.
As a result of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Japan’s overall LNG imports rose 24% between 2010 and 2012, from 3.5 trillion cubic feet per year (Tcf/y) to 4.3 Tcf/y.
Japan imported 204 million short tons of coal in 2012, a slight increase from 194 million short tons in 2011. Japan had been the largest global coal importer for three decades until 2011, when, according to World Coal Association estimates, China surpassed Japan by a narrow margin. By 2012, this gap widened as Chinese coal imports grew, the EIA said.