Tag Archives: Japan

Water legislation in Japan in perspective of hydropower development

Japan is rich in water resources. The average annual precipitation is about 650 billion m3, out of which 420 billion m3 is the theoretical maximum that can be utilized for various purposes including hydropower generation. In 1951, the electricity business of Japan was handed to 10 regional power utilities. In 1995, the independent power producer (IPP) were allowed to sell electricity. According to NEF, by 2010 there were 1754 small and medium power plants (less than 30 MW). The feed-in tariffs for various types of hydro electricity, set after Fukoshima disaster, are as follows. (Ref: https://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2016/0318_03.html)

  • Under 200 kw->Yen 34/24 (new construction/using exiting canal)
  • 200-1000 kw-> Yen 29/21
  • 1000-30,000kw->Yen 24/14

The feed in tariffs are lucrative. However, the hydropower development in Japan is not straightforward due to fragmented government offices requiring permissions from multiple agencies.

River legislation and management

The new “River Law” started since 1964 to manage water resources in Japan. It has been revised multiple times.

The River Law classifies the rivers into two categories- A and B. Class A rivers are administered by the Minister of Construction (MLIT). There are 17798 rivers grouped into 109 river systems in this category totaling to about 87,150km. Class B rivers are administered by the prefectural government. There are 6,631 rivers grouped in 2,691 river systems in this category totaling to about 35,700 km. Some section of rivers (both A and B) may be administered by local cities or villages.

Once the water is extracted from the river, it is managed by other laws. A list of ministries and agencies handling the water resource are listed in table below:

MILITIt is responsible for over all water resource development
MOEDevelopment of guidelines, policy and planning for water conservation and setting of water quality standards.
Ministry of healthRegulation of domestic water supply facilities
METIRegulation of industrial water supply facilities
Ministry of agricultureRegulation of agricutural water and conservation of forest water resorces
Japan water agencyIt is responsible for the supply of safe, quality water at a reasonable price. It is engaged in the construction and refurbishment of major dams for water utilization (for domestic, industrial and agricultural use) and river management purposes (flood control, maintenance and environmental flow).
Inter-ministerial Liaison CouncilThis is responsible to study how procedures could be simplified fir water resource development

Base on:

  • Small and Micro-Scale Hydropower in Japan by Yveline Lecler