This study is a preliminary and experimental one to analyze Japan’s energy transitions to mitigate climate change from anticipatory governance aspects. Japan’s energy policy principles have been energy security, environmental considerations, economic efficiency, and safety (3E + S). According to the energy agency, the long-term energy outlook is also drawn up by “ambitious multiple track scenarios” and “multilayered and diversified flexible energy supply-demand structure.” This approach resonates with the aspects of anticipatory governance. It promotes the idea of preparing for multiple future scenarios, including the unthinkable worst case future scenario such as a nuclear accident (foresight), the interactions between the policymakers and the public (engagement), and the reflexive processes of policy innovations with a normative decision for the selection of energy mix (integration). However, this study finds that Japan’s energy policy lacks the aspects of anticipatory governance. It sticks to fixed energy policy institutionalized in the 1970s to promote nuclear energy and coal as oil alternatives. It rarely has interactions between the policymakers and the public and thus lacks a societal (normative) decision about a future energy path to energy transitions to mitigate climate change. Instead, Japan’s energy policy has not necessarily met its declared policy objective of 3E + S since the unprecedented Fukushima nuclear accidents occurred and cannot uphold an ambitious target for CO2 emissions reduction.
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