Japan Weathers High Oil Prices With Energy Efficiency

The high price of oil has many countries — including the U.S. — casting about for ways to lower the cost, increase domestic production, or find alternative energy sources, lest economic ruin ensue. But according to some analysts, one country that’s almost entirely dependent on foreign oil is sitting pretty: Japan. Why is this small island nation’s economy so resilient in the face of rising oil prices? “Japan is a lot more energy-efficient than other developed economies,” said International Monetary Fund chief economist Raghuram Rajan. According to analyst Toru Umemoto, while the U.S. uses 220 “oil-equivalent grams” of energy to produce $1 of gross domestic product, Japan uses only 128. Ever since the 1970s oil crisis, the country has concentrated on cutting oil use and getting more out of each barrel. Note to the U.S. Department of Energy: This could be the best Japanese import since the PlayStation!