Editor’s Note: This column is part of a regular series by industry veteran Brad Hitch for NGI’s LNG Insight dedicated to addressing the complexities of the global natural gas market.

Japanese demand historically has been the driving force behind most LNG industry developments since its inception. Lacking domestic resources, Japan’s industrial expansion in the latter half of the 20th century was dependent upon establishing energy security through overseas procurement.

The Japanese Government, through the efforts of the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), established targets and guidelines for the regional utilities to follow. Government influence on imports of oil, coal and LNG has been a cornerstone of Japanese energy security. 

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