February 8, 2023

Japan’s industry ministry compiled a draft revision of the country’s existing gas business law on Wednesday in order to introduce measures to restrict the use of city gas and support fuel procurement amid lingering fears of severe supply crunches and sky-high spot prices.

The draft revision is aimed at developing a scheme to curb demand during times of emergency, where the government is allowed to issue an order to restrict the use of city gas by major companies if gas shortages are feared to have an adverse effect on the domestic economy and people’s daily life. The planned revision also includes a system to allow the government to procure liquefied natural gas (LNG), a raw material for city gas, on behalf of private firms in case the companies become unable to purchase the fuel.

Under the system, the industry minister will be allowed to ask state-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. to buy LNG in the event of a large-scale disruption to LNG imports. The draft revision was approved at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s economy, trade and industry division on Wednesday.

The government intends to enact the revised law at an early date after submitting the draft to the ongoing extraordinary session of the Diet, the country’s parliament, which started on Monday.

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