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Sun’s up: building partnerships in Japan's energy sector

Written by Elena Molinari on 23 November 2018

Japan is already the UK’s fourth largest export market but a new GBIP highlights potential for innovation and collaboration in its energy sector

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Mountain Fuji and Japan industry zone from Shizuoka prefecture

© Shutterstock

Energy has always been a priority for Japan. Geologically, this densely populated, highly industrialised nation sits atop an active volcano zone and has little of its own fossil fuel resources, making it one the world’s major importers of energy. It is therefore constantly seeking out innovations in energy technologies, particularly those which optimise energy efficiency.

 

Right now, the energy market in Japan is currently undergoing its most radical shake-up since the end of the Second World War. In 2011, the East Japan earthquake and the ensuing accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station marked a turning point for Japan’s energy policy.

 

The Japanese government has made it a high priority and now has three principal strategies: to strengthen energy security; to implement energy conservation and renewable energy policies that consider environmental concerns alongside growth; and to balance public interest issues, such as stable supplies of energy and reduced costs, with market liberalisation and growing competition.

 

Japan: focus on energy security and renewables

 

The recently approved 5th Strategic Energy Plan shows a strong shift in policy towards renewable energy, although a single objective underlies Japanese energy policy: energy security. There are huge opportunities for UK innovators with products and services applicable in this context.

 

Innovate UK’s Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP), delivered by the Enterprise Europe Network, is organising a visit to Tokyo for innovative businesses active in the energy sector. The programme is designed to help UK companies forge strong international partnerships and collaborations, including to develop future joint project applications with the aim to support business growth.

 

Participant companies will have the opportunity to learn about the Japanese market, network with potential research and business partners and investors, and develop strong international partnerships and collaborations.

 

They will also attend the ENEX2019 (Energy Expo 2019), Smart Energy Japan 2019 and Energy Supply & Service Showcase 2019 at the Tokyo Big Sight- the most comprehensive set of exhibitions in Japan’s energy industry, with more than 300 exhibitors from energy saving and conservation, energy use management as well as electricity and gas retailers.

 

Participant companies receive individual coaching sessions to prepare them for the visit, the services of the EEN advisory team during the visit as well as post-visit support to exploit any opportunities which arise. Applications can be made here.