Japan's LNG imports fall

Japan is the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, but that may not be the case for much longer. Japan is the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, but that may not be the case for much longer. Imports for natural gas fell during the first six months of 2013 and may decline even more if the country is granted approval to restart nuclear reactors that were shut down after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

LNG imports are down 2.7 percent this year to 43.4 million tons, The Wall Street Journal reported. In 2012, imports increased 11 percent and in 2011, 12 percent.

Of Japan's 50 licensed nuclear reactors, just two are active, the source said. LNG imports had been supplying the country with 40 percent of its electricity. Japan has also been relying on coal-fired power.

The LNG imports were expensive, Bloomberg said. In 2012, the country spent $60 billion importing 83.7 million metric tons of LNG.

Future LNG imports and energy prices in Japan will depend on nuclear activity.

"It depends on when and how many reactors the authorities approve," said Hidetoshi Shioda, analyst of SMBC Nikko Securities, according to the WSJ.

More information on energy in Japan can be found at PennEnergy's research area.

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