China and Japan's Energy Security Approaches In The Central Asia A Comparative Study



Extended Abstract
Energy security, a relatively new term in international relations jargon, implies states of securing adequate and reliable energy supplies at stable prices. In a world of tightening markets for oil and gas animated by new superpower’s explosive economic growth, the energy dimension of economic giant's rivalry appears increasingly salient. More than any other commodity, today energy as a strategic commodity has become political and is in a direct interaction with international system. The vital fuels such as oil, which is at times used as a political instrument, enjoy a special place in the economic policies of the producing countries and the security-economic strategies of the consuming countries.

A better understanding of the impact of energy on Chinese and Japanese foreign policy requires a more comprehensive approach with an in-depth examination of their interactions over energy related matters with other countries. This paper is an effort in addressing the role of energy in the wider context of Japanese and Chinese foreign policy in the Central Asia region from a comparative perspective. The first section is dedicated to the Central Asian's energy reserves and its position in the world energy markets, and the second and third sections deal with energy policies and strategies of China and Japan in this region. The final section discusses the differences between the patterns and frameworks of Japan’s and China's foreign policy making process in this region to attain their interests. The authors have analyzed the both countries goals and policies in the Caspian region by using a comparative approach.

Results and discussion
Securing energy resources is the case for old main consumers such as Japan before the Second World War and is also the case for new-comer energy consumers such as China today with its huge growing energy demand. Although Japanese energy consumption is among the highest in the world, the country lacks significant domestic energy resources and most imports include substantial amount of crude oil, natural gas and other energy resources, including uranium for its nuclear power plants. Japan has by far the second largest oil importer in the world; as well as LNG imports that reach roughly half of the entire world’s total. Imports of both oil and gas flow heavily from the Middle East, where Japan gets nearly 90 per cent of its oil and around one third of its gas. On the other hand, according to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2002, oil imports for developing countries in Asia are expected to increase dramatically from 4.9 Mbd in 2000, to 24 Mbd in 2030. In particular, net oil imports for China alone are expected to jump from 1.7 Mbd in 2000, to 10 Mbd in 2030.
After China adopted the policy of reform and opening up during 1980's, China’s economy has developed with a high speed. With the development of economy, the consumption of oil increases dramatically. In 1993, China became a net importer of oil and in 2003, with a daily demand of 5.5 million barrels per day; China surpassed Japan to become the second largest international oil consumer after the United States. Clearly, China and Japan have interests in Central Asia beyond energy. For China, involvement in Central Asian energy industries is one way to shore up influence in what is very much its backyard. More broadly, working cooperatively and occasionally competitively with Russia, China would like to exclude “outsiders” from Central Asia, particularly Western actors. Japan’s non-energy interests are narrower. Aside from a genuine normative edge to its foreign policy towards Central Asia, there is an element of hard competitive calculation in maintaining a presence on China’s western borders. Nevertheless, focusing on oil, gas and uranium is justified by the direct interest of Japan and China in these resources and the effect that control of these resources has on Central Asian politics.
However, Japan’s and China’s expanding global outreach is not entirely the result of their growing reliance on imported oil and their efforts to secure supplies globally. Rather, it is consistent with both countries' overall economic growth and enhanced political standing. The build-up of closer ties with the developing world and China and Japan’s growing presence should be seen in the context of Beijing and Tokyo’s expanding economic interests' world-wide and growing international political influence, not simply as a symptom of their pursuit for energy. In short, energy has influenced Chinese and Japanese international behavior but not transformed their foreign policy.

This paper presents the argument that while energy is an important factor in Japanese and Chinese foreign policy, the impact of their energy needs on their international behavior is only one dimension, and must be analyzed in the context of their multiple and competing policy priorities.