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Japan's trade deficit balloons to record Y12.781 trillion in 2014

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weighed down by post-Fukushima disaster energy bills

Last April, Germany generated 74% of its energy needs (though it was on a Sunday) from wind and solar.

Unlike Germany, we have no wind. Or sunlight. Or tides. Or geothermal. Or biomass.

Such a pity. If we did have all these resources, Japan could a renewables leader.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

SenseNotSoCommonJAN. 26, 2015 - 11:46AM JST Unlike Germany, we have no wind. Or sunlight. Or tides. Or geothermal. Or biomass. Such a pity. If we did have all these resources, Japan could a renewables leader.

Since half the countryside is covered with concrete or powerlines anyway, preserving the miharashii shouldn't be a argument against renewables either. so what's the problem?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

while exports surged 12.9% for the month to 6.90 trillion yen. Great for the economy, keep it going in that direction.

Now just Get the reactors back online.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

When numbers get this big, they become meaningless. None of this affects the average person with less than $100,000 in the bank.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

In December alone, however, the deficit almost halved from the same month a year before to 660.7 billion yen, thanks to lower oil prices.

This is interesting, I wonder how much of the oil price drop is already factored in. My guess would be at least some imports were still being paid for with higher prices contracted before the oil price crash, but I could be completely wrong. Apparently gasoline prices have been coming down.

Hopefully Japan can get back a trade surplus soon, somehow.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The lack of french fry imports at KFC and McD is really pushing Japan out of whack, isn't it?

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This was almost all caused by keeping the nuclear plants shut down. The cost of nuclear plants being shut down is equivalent to hosting the olympics every month, and that is discounting the environmental costs of acidifying our oceans (oceans are so acidic now that within 30 years there may be almost no plankton or fish left; 50% of the oxygen you breathe is from plankton, so you should care!) and streams and new cancers from burning coal and other fossil fuels.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

With major value-added industry hollowed out, Japan is returning to its prewar dilemma of having too many people and not enough food and energy to support them at the present standard of living and purchasing power. Ecologically speaking, Japan has long lived beyond its carrying capacity and this is finally reflected in the abstract world of market valuation.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Last April, Germany generated 74% of its energy needs (though it was on a Sunday) from wind and solar. Unlike Germany, we have no wind. Or sunlight. Or tides. Or geothermal. Or biomass. Such a pity. If we did have all these resources, Japan could a renewables leader.

Germany subsidizes renewable energy generations from traditional energy industry. And traditional energy industry in Germany much more effective than japanese, because it works on cheap pipeline gas from Russia and Norway. Japan will import extremely expensive LNG from Qatar and also should subsidize renewable energy? I think after that decision japanese taxpayers become poor, literally.

Actually, after start of developing "green" energy in Germany, import of gas in Germany increased, because renewable energy generation is really unstable, so if there is no wind or sun, you should use traditional energy - you always need stable besement of energy generation. And it's switch on and off game in traditional energy generation makes them angry and poor(they also subsidize "green" energy).

Also energy generation is concentrated on the north of Germany, but consumption in south(Bavaria). So there is actually some energy transportation issues, which still not solved. Now Germany is one of the weakest link of common european energy system.

So you took one peak of energy generation of Germany and think that it will be solution for Japan. Actually in long period only 20-25% of energy production made by "green" technologies. The more you have "green energy" in your balance - more you have to keep traditional energy reserves. So, at first, you invest plenty of money into "green energy"(cause it's really expensive - deal with it), after you also should invest into traditional energy development (preferably gas, cause it's easier to switch on or off) - welcome to the country with one of the most expensive energy price in Europe (more expensive only in Denmark, which more obsessed with "green energy").

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The record trade deficit has a lot more complicated than just the oil prices although, it does make a convenient excuse to gain favor for the return nuclear power.

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I don't believe it, the current regime promised they would fix the economy. I trust them they have 70+ years of experience doing a great job.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan's trade deficit balloons to record Y12.781 Trillion (not billion) in 2014

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So about $150 billion, with the sinking value of Yen.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why they blaming "energy costs"... they should be blaming Abe.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The record trade deficit has a lot more complicated than just the oil prices although, it does make a convenient excuse to gain favor for the return nuclear power.

I'd say that the record trade deficit is actually a pretty clear explanation of why nuclear power has NOT returned. Or maybe you think the 100's of billions of dollars flowing into corporate pockets (many of them Japanese pockets through their foreign operations) have no effect on the calculations. Just a coincidence.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Spot on, Guy-Jean,

The big trading companies make a killing no matter what happens, and our filial piety applauds it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan HAS been supporting alternative power, especially solar, and will continue to do so. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/17/solar-power-booming-japan/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My neighbor has a small solar panel on his roof. He can power his whole house and still remain lots of juice.

You neighbor must live in a doghouse.

I've got 20 panels on my roof and while they can power the house when the sun is out, the work for crap at nighttime.

Now if you could figure out a way to have them work with moonlight that would be a winner.

BTW, remain lot's of juice? What does he have, batteries all over the place? The leftover "juice" is resold to the local electrical utility.

If every house had solr panels the country would be in for a major disaster because solar alone dose not make for a stable power source on it's own. There needs to be a balance, and it's costs too much to install by the way and most of those house you would put panels on would never generate enough energy to recover the cost of their installation.

But I guess it's ok to dream or live in fantasy land.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just imagine if the government passed legislation stipulating all new buildings,i.e.: houses small factories had to be self sufficient, i.e. :solar,etc, with all utility companies forced to take back on the grid all the surplus electricity generated by the new building regulations. There would be a big cry out from the big utility companies ,as has already been implemented by the same utility companies refusing to take generated surplus back into their grids.The price of solar is attainable and cheap enough to be included in new builds. Japan has the technology but is held back by corporate Japan. Renewable energy is a economical and a reachable goal. So if this deficit has to be believed, then it is caused by the same energy utilities that refuse to change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Self-sufficient? Do you have any idea at all what it costs to build something here, not including the land?

I have 20 panels on the roof of my house and it cost over 2.5 MILLION yen. It would have cost closer to 3.5 MILLION if I had an electric water heater installed as well.

It's really easy to sit and talk about the government should do this, or that, realities are different.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan has a tremendous potential for geothermal energy. I do not understand why it is not developed.

With ready access to ocean currents, tides, winds, and geothermal, why does Japan still rely on expensive, imported petroleum? It is not like the Japanese to ignore something that makes so much sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is called self interest-imagine a world where (as insensitive are) there are unlimited amounts of power coming from the ground!well, it is possible but it is free and the capitalist system doesn't much like free .....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

minello7JAN. 26, 2015 - 03:27PM JST Just imagine if the government passed legislation stipulating all new buildings,i.e.: houses small factories had to be self sufficient, i.e. :solar,etc, with all utility companies forced to take back on the grid all the surplus electricity generated by the new building regulations.

The thing is (I left Okinawa in 2011 and have been living in Germany since) is the "greenies" seem to think that solar/wind power is nearly 100% efficient, and just by putting them everywhere you solve all of your con tries energy problems. This is not how it works. See this link:

http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-and-media/press-releases/press-releases-2014/new-world-record-for-solar-cell-efficiency-at-46-percent

A recent break through in advanced solar energy production has raised up to 46% efficiency. 46%? Um, that would mean you would need a lot of sun everyday to achieve that, but then some will be lost through transmission medium (think power lines). This number will not make it to market for a while due to economies of scale. So even this lofty number is not really attainable. So Germany depends on coal. Yes, coal.

http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/data-nivc-/electricity-production-from-solar-and-wind-in-germany-2014.pdf

Slide 5 of this link shows Germany "installed" power generation systems, however because of inefficiency, the next slide shows what is really powering the country (uranium and coal).

So I say once the technology is here, where you have really good efficiency and a reliable grid for transport then the "green energy" solutions will be more viable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pikers! Come back when you've got a REAL trade deficit!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_by_current_account_balance

(2011 trade deficit/surplus figures from WTO, in billions of USD.)

USA -784.775

Japan -31.593

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Kunga mergen

You are a comedian?

Of course Germany subsidises renewable energy... As much as I dislike that country, it is a sign of intelligent politics.

Subsidising nuclear energy, as Japan does, is not. Spend some time researching who pays the bills for Fukushima.

Don't misinterpret this, I have no problem with the deficit, the continuosly declining value of the Yen and the rising costs of imports. What do you think will happen in this country here, when the price for oil returns to normal? Any people that elect the Abes of this world as their lead3ers deserves to pay the bills that will follow.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I think its 12.781 trillion yen not billion??

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You are a comedian?

You are comedian, volland, aren't you? At first, I pointed that peak of energy generation is not representative. So enthusiasm with 74% of peak generation is just stupid. In long-term only 20-25% of energy generation is "green". But the more developed "green" energy industry you have, while shutting down nuclear plants - the more traditional energy consumption you will have. So you'll just get increase of petroleum and LNG import. Because you will not watch TV and surf internet only at time when nature privide you wind and sun9couse there is no way of accumulation of "green" energy). You will consume energy all time, without a difference "green" or not. And here we are = more trade deficit.

Only way to decrease trade deficit in Japan is restart nuclear plants. If you'll just increase expensive green energy generation = you'll increase energy costs for industry = Japanese industry becomes uncompetitive = decrease of export = increase of trade deficit. Germany compensates such problem with much cheaper traditional energy industry. Japan can not.

You're so naive, if you think that developing of "green" energy industry is solution of japanese problems. Japanese problems much more complex.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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