Former executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Nobuo Tanaka said that the western tensions against Iran could hit Japan with an economic impact greater than that from the March 2011 earthquake.
Speaking at an event in Washington sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Tanaka said Japan will be hard hit if the tensions against Iran curb the supply of liquefied natural gas while Japan's nuclear fleet is shut.
With 20 percent of its gas and 80 percent of its oil coming through the Strait of Hormuz, Japan would face a "disastrous impact" from a crisis in the Middle-East, Platts quoted Tanaka, now a global associate at Japan's Institute of Energy Economics, on Friday.
On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan's main island set off a devastating tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks. The tragic event triggered one of the world's worst nuclear disasters, crippling Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant.
All of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors could be shut by early may for periodic maintenance and testing, Tanaka said. In Japan, those routine outages cannot end without approval from prefecture governments, which have declined to give that approval for any reactor, leaving 52 of 54 nuclear units shut.