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24

Japan Opens 40% of Energy Market

The decentralization of Japan's economy will take a critical step forward today as...

The decentralization of Japan's economy will take a critical step forward today as more than 40 per cent of Japan's power sector will be opened to free market forces.

It's a reform agenda with big implications for the Japanese economy, which has long been saddled with power prices up to 30 per cent higher than comparable nations.

It is also a process of critical interest to Australia's energy sector, which supplies one quarter of the $28 billion in primary fuels consumed by Japan's power generators.

That includes 67 per cent of the steaming coal used by Japan's utilities, 14 per cent of the natural gas, and more than 530 million litres of crude oil.

From today, new electricity distribution firms will be able to compete with the existing large utilities to supply mid-sized users such as department stores, factories and large office buildings.

The reform will mean that 40 per cent of Japan's electricity market has been opened to competition.