Farewell Abe, Hello Hydrogen
Japan’s next leader must look to the future
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has bowed out for medical reasons and will step aside when his party has chosen his successor.
Throughout the Abenomics era, Japan’s shipping industry has benefited from a weak yen, lowering domestic wage costs compared to dollar incomes. It has also benefited from low interest rates, supporting capital raising either from banks or equity markets, Japan’s shipyards have benefited from the weak yen, making their products competitive with Korea and China when priced in USD. The Japanese shipbuilding industry has in fact gone through something of a revival compared to expectations a decade ago when it was considered to be a sunset industry.
Japan’s technological leadership may be where it contributes most to shipping in the coming decades. A national energy policy aimed at decarbonisation and the promotion of hydrogen and fuel cells for transport may lead the world. Government policy is that “Japan should lead the world in realizing a hydrogen-based society”.
The next Prime Minster will do well to deepen and strengthen Japan’s commitment to weaning itself off costly imported hydrocarbons, Who know what that will mean for ships transporting oil, gas and coal, but the climate science now seems to be unchallengeable. Much like Abe’s economic policy.
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