As of 2002, Japan was the second-largest energy consumer in the world, topped only by the United States. Japan's primary energy needs in 2001 were supplied by oil (52%), coal (15%), natural gas (13%), nuclear power (15%), hydroelectricity (4%), and other renewable sources (1%). With nearly no oil reserves of its own, in 1999 Japan depended on imports for more than 79% of its primary energy. However, exploration for petroleum continues in the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan / East Sea. Japan ceased coal production in 2000, when it closed its last operating mine, at Kushiro. To meet the growing requirements for steam coal by power plants, Japanese trading companies and energy firms are seeking long-term supply contracts with Australia, China, Colombia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
To reduce its reliance on oil and its carbon dioxide emissions, Japan has aggressively pursued development of nuclear power since the 1980s, with nuclear production doubling between 1985 and 1996. As of 2002 Japan ranked third, behind the United States and France, in nuclear power production and planned to increase the percentage of nuclear-generated electricity to 30% by 2010 in spite of growing public opposition fueled by a series of accidents at nuclear power plants, especially the event at the Tikaimura uranium processing plant in September 1999. As of 2002, Japan had 51 reactors in operation, with a total capacity of 45 GW. These included the world's first Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, which came online in 1997.
In 2000 Japan had an output of 1,015 billion kWh of electricity, of which 60.1% was from fossil fuels, 8.5% from hydropower, 29% from nuclear power, and under 2% from renewable sources. Electricity is provided by several private companies, with the public Electric Power Development Co. and the Japan Atomic Power Co. playing supplementary roles in distribution. As of 2001, total electricity generating capacity stood at 234.5 million kW.
In 2002 Japan imported some 5.3 million barrels of oil per day, primarily from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia; 145 million tons of coal, mostly from Australia and Canada; and 74.7 million cu m (2.64 billion cu ft) of natural gas, primarily from Indonesia.