Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Discussing Japan’s Energy Import Diversification: Can the Russia-Ukraine War be a Catalyst for Change?

Fri31  Mar12:30pm(15 mins)
Humanities Lecture Theatre 255
Mr Kazuto Matsuda


Kazuto Matsuda1
1 Gulf Studies Center, Qatar University, Qatar


In spite of its traditional efforts to diversify oil imports for the sake of its energy security, Japan still largely relies on the Gulf states (i.e., Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain) for its oil imports. Russia has also remained an important oil and gas exporter for Japan as the latter continues its efforts to diversify hydrocarbon imports away from the Gulf states. However, only little is discussed on the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and the subsequent war between the two sides, on Japan’s continuous efforts for the diversification of hydrocarbon imports.

In this light, a research question arises: to what extent can the Russia-Ukraine war be understood as a catalyst for change in terms of Japan’s diversification of hydrocarbon imports? By conducting a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the effect of the Russia-Ukraine war on Japan’s hydrocarbon imports, this study argues that while the war increased the necessity to diversify Japan’s hydrocarbon imports, it cannot be understood as a catalyst for a significant change as Japan’s energy security remains resilient without the presence of Russian hydrocarbons.

By shedding light on the effect of the war on Japan-Gulf hydrocarbon trade, the study contributes to adding scholarly knowledge to the existing scholarship on Japan-Gulf relations as well as the supra-regional effect of the Russia-Ukraine war.