2002 Volume 81 Issue 5 Pages 311-321
The “Energy Security” concept has played the central role in Japan's energy policy. However, the definition of the concept is not clear. Though the concept was referred in policy documents as early as in the 1960s, it was established after the first oil crisis in 1973 as preparedness to cope with sudden reduction or disruption of energy imports. Energy security continued to be the primary goal for Japan's energy policy during the period of oil crises in the 1970s, although its meaning had already started to change to include long-term stable supply of energy. After the oil crises, energy security lost the utmost importance as a policy target. It was ranked with cost reduction in the mid-1980s, then with global environmental protection in the 1990s. Its meaning had changed further in the 1990s to imply the necessity of energy demand reduction. Recent years, however, energy security is regaining public attention.
The energy security concept has changed in accord with energy situation and policymakers' concern of the times. As a result, it is partly in confusion. The issues appeared in its historical changes should be addressed in order to conceptualize energy security and systematize related policy measures.