Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is planning a strategic LNG reserve to ensure the country has enough natural gas to meet domestic demand as global competition ramps up. 

METI’s proposal is primarily aimed at preventing gas shortages and preparing Japan, one of the world’s largest buyers of liquefied natural gas, for battling Europe for cargoes in the years ahead as the continent displaces Russian imports.   

Record high natural gas prices in Europe this year have put upward pressure on the Japan-Korea Marker. Europe has also attracted the most LNG this year given high prices and lackluster demand in Asia, a trend that could shift with colder weather and easing Covid-19 lockdowns in China.  

METI’s proposal for “a strategic reserve has been...