From Financial Times:
Japan’s almost unparalleled dependence on imported resources to drive its economy has long forced it to focus on weaning itself off foreign oil, gas and coal.
In the 1930s and 1940s its preferred – and ultimately disastrous – method was to grab those resources by imperial expansion in China and south-east Asia. After the 1973 oil shock it concentrated on energy efficiency, passing regulations designed to force companies to de¬≠velop technology for everything from water-saving washing machines to clean-coal power generation.
As a result, Japan is now widely recognised as the most energy-efficient economy in the world and nearly 10 times as frugal in its energy use as China, say some Japanese officials.[Full Text]