Published 21 October 2022
Japan has historically been a net-energy importer with a heavy reliance on foreign natural gas and crude oil for its primary energy resources, yet in recent years, the increasing concern for climate change and a call for a carbon neutral society have shifted the domestic energy policy to seek alternative energy sources, most notably offshore wind energy. In this article, the authors analyze the underlying factors of the development of offshore wind energy in Japan, and further consider the emerging themes from the recent legal reforms. The authors highlight that the two key policy drivers for the development of offshore wind energy in Japan are the need to reduce reliance on foreign energy and the commitment to carbon neutrality. In other words, Japan views offshore wind energy to meet both energy security and carbon neutrality objectives. Further, the authors note from the analysis of the recent legal reforms that the emerging theme in Japan's offshore wind energy is the need for a mechanism to incentivize proponents, while also adjusting existing interests with relevant stakeholders in offshore areas.