ICJS Event: The Politics of Restructuring: Agendas and Uncertainty in Japan's Electricity Deregulation

Temple University, Japan Campus, ICJS Adjunct Fellow Paul Scalise will speak at ISS Contemporary Japan Group/Tokyo University. The ISS Contemporary Japan Group serves as a forum for researchers on Japan to receive critical feedback on their work.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Room 549, 5th floor, Akamon Sogo Kenkyuto
Institute of Social Science, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo (Access)
Paul J. Scalise
(Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies)
Open to general public.
Not Required
For more information, please contact Satsuki Takahashi (tsatsuki@iss.u-tokyo.ac.jp).


This presentation examines attempts to restructure the Japanese electric power industry over a long period. The most important intellectual problem that it seeks to tackle is why concerted attempts to restructure the provision of electric power to industry and to private residencies during the 1990s along market competitive lines ran into the sand with the new millennium. The ultimate failure of such attempts appears surprising in view of the fact that Japanese consumers pay considerably more for electricity than do consumers in many other comparable countries. This presentation first lays out three rival theories explaining variation in the pace of Japan's deregulation movement, with special attention paid to the emerging but relatively untested factor of foreign economic ideas infiltrating the decision-making process. To address which theory holds the strongest explanatory power, we examine Japan's high electricity prices from 1965-2005 using a principal component analysis alongside an analysis of the electric power sector's profitability, total factor productivity, and potential rent-seeking behavior. It is found that Japan's promotion of a safe energy supply in the form of nuclear power not only explains why post-oil-shock prices were (and are) so high relative to other countries, but also why most actors continued to tolerate them for so long.

About the Speaker

Paul J. Scalise (D.Phil., Politics, University of Oxford, 2009) is Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies at Temple University, Japan Campus. A former Senior Associate at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), he worked as a financial analyst in Tokyo covering Japanese energy companies for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Japan Ltd. and UBS Global Asset Management. His work has been funded in part by the Toshiba International Foundation, Japan Foundation Endowment Committee, and other organizations. Among his professional activities, he served as professorial lecturer at Sophia University and contributing analyst for Oxford Analytica.

About ICJS
The Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies (ICJS) is an organization dedicated to fostering study and research on various topics related to contemporary Japan and Asia.