Thursday, July 14, 2011

石油枯渇後、日本とアメリカ崩壊の比較(Part I) Comparing the collapse of America and Japan in the post oil world

Case Japan

Last April, I wrote about the collapse of America due to high oil prices.


Some people might feel that I wrote something that is fiction. Unfortunately, there is too much fact pointing in the direction. In the link below is an article about a Mr. Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of oil exploration for Aramco. Aramco is Saudi Arabia's national oil company.


He told US embassy officials in 2008 that Saudi Arabia had overestimated it's oil reserves by 40% for investment purposes. He said that as early as 2012, Saudi Arabia will longer be able to meet normal demand.


Saudi Arabian oil supplies have peaked. The age of oil based civilization is over.


Some people here might say that there is no reason to worry about America. They would say that the American government must be planning for such a future.


That is not true. The only way to hope to deal with the coming crisis is to build an electric public transportation system.


Americans, at least Conservative Americans, say public transportation equals socialism. Conservative Americans despise socialism as an evil system, thus they will automatically be against any kind of public transport in the US.

So, can the American government be so blind, so wrong? Let us think about the recent disaster with the Fukushima nuclear power plant. One main cause of the disaster was the management at TEPCO. They assumed that there would be no disaster, so they did nothing to prepare for it.


In Japan, which has many earthquakes, this is absolute stupidity. Well, Americans are the same way when you tell them that they will have to give up a society that is based on private cars for transport.


They just cannot imagine a world without cars. Despite all the evidence that oil is a finite resource, and we are running out very quickly. Americans just don't want to think about it.


So America will disappear as a civilization, and soon.


So, let me make an exercise in the imagination here. What will American and Japanese societies look like after the disappearance of oil? Here is my idea of Japan and America in the 2025.


This is what I think will happen in Japan. The greatest danger facing Japan I can see is food production. Japan only produces some 40% of food that it's population consumes.


Also, the average age of farmers and fishermen is very high. When oil becomes scarce, say with the collapse of Saudi Arabian oil reserves, it will become prohibitively expensive.


The Japanese government will have to decide who gets fuel, priority will be given to trucking companies delivering food to cities, and to ships bringing products from overseas.


Use of private automobiles will be forbidden in urban areas. In the Tokyo/Yokoyama/Chiba/Saitama Megalopolis, some 30 million people live within walking distance of an electric train line. In this area, and the Osaka/ Kobe and Nagoya areas, all commuting will be by train.


In rural areas, cars and fuel supplies will have to be monitored by local governments. Priority will be given to food shipments, and to transport that visits all persons in a municipality at least twice a day. This will be to insure that elderly people in remote areas can receive food and medical attention.


A sudden decrease in available oil will throw many people out of work. For those in good health under the age of 50, they will be relocated to the countryside. There, they will reclaim abandoned farmland. Also, with such a decrease in personal transport, large American style shopping centers will disappear. The parking lots will be broken up by hand by relocated workers, and reclaimed as farmland. I do not know for certain, but I would think that land that has been under asphalt would need several years before it can produce viable crops.


The same will be done to pachinko parlors, and bookstores in the countryside. The parking lots will be broken up, the buildings used for farm equipment.


Since present farm equipment is primarily fossil fuel operated, a lot of work in the fields will be done by hand until electric or alternative equipment can be produced.


Experienced farmers will oversee and teach the relocated workers farming methods.


In emergencies, Japanese commuter trains can be run into framing villages, and loaded up with rice and vegetables by hand. Relocated workers can pull the produce from field to train station by hand cart. In the city, the produce can be unloaded by hand again by relocated workers, and transported by hand cart.


The Shotengai will begin to revive. The best way to get food to the most people is to sell it in locations that people can walk to. There may be relocation of people to make this more convenient.


Food is likely to be rationed.


Fossil fuel for electric power generation will become extremely expensive. Within a short period after oil collapse it may become too valuable to burn as fuel for electric power generation. Japan will need to depend on it's nuclear power plants for some years after oil collapse.


I see two issues here. One is the obvious mismanagement of the Fukushima disaster. The Japanese government will have to take over management of electric power generation. A private company has profit as it's main goal. There is a tendency cut costs by not building enough safety defenses, such as anti tsunami walls. Also, in the recent disaster, TEPCO seemed to have very little preparation for an emergency. They seem to have had an attitude that emergencies won't happen.


It is the responsibility of the Japanese government to see that such carelessness is not repeated.


Also, Japan has no source of Uranium. So nuclear fuel rods must be manufactured overseas. Presently I have heard that Japan imports nuclear fuel rods from America. As the internal situation of America is about to become extremely serious and difficult, new sources of Uranium must be found. The best choices are Australia or Kazakhstan.


I say this because Canada is likely to have the same transport difficulties as America, and is likely to suffer invasion by bands of desperate Americans looking for food.


For a future reliable energy supply, I think Japan will have to go all out to develop solar power. Manufacturing solar cells requires rare earths, and their availability will be difficult in the future. But we must obtain them.


In such a future, it may become necessary for the Japanese government to ration electricity. Certain industries need a steady supply of power to create their products. Some industries may be told to shut down, while more vital industries receive power. Also, some industries may be told to operate at night, in non peak power use periods.


Civil Aviation will disappear for some time. Biofuels are being tested at this time, but they are not produced in enough quantity to be useful in an oil crisis world. Governments around the world will hoard available jet fuels for military and government use.


I have written before on my blog about the use of sail power on my blog. I believe that in the near future Japanese fishing vessels will be powered by a sail and electric power.


International trade and travel will still exist. Germany has already tested a large kite type sail and found it brings tremendous fuel savings.

International shipping of the near future will be sail and electric powered.


I expect that Japan will take the lead in the development and manufacture of electric powered ships, boats, cars, farm equipment and so forth. These products will be valuable in trade for raw materials and resources with other countries that lack ability to manufacture them.


I have faith that Japan will retain it's civilization and culture. The primary strength of Japan is the resilience, inventiveness, and hard work of the Japanese people, and a nation wide electric train system.


to be continued


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