Why doesn’t Japan produce more geothermal energy?

I’ve been wondering this for a while. With its many volcanoes and hot springs, Japan clearly has the ability to produce electricity from heat underground. It also has some big companies that make the hardware. However, Japan only gets 0.3% of its energy from geothermal sources, making up just 5% of the world’s total and being about the same as the tiny population of Iceland use.

A student of mine works for a Japanese company building a new geothermal plant in Indonesia, and she claimed that the main impediment in Japan is that most good sites are in national parks. An article on the topic on the Economist website mentions that but puts more emphasis on resistance from onsen hot springs owners who are worried that all their hot water might be drained away. While they are a surprisingly powerful lobby in Japan, I think it’s much more likely to be the influence of the power companies, who for some reason have resisted any pressure to produce renewable energy and have had the political clout to make sure no pressure is put on them (the same main reason for nuclear accidents etc).

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Why are Prius owners the worst drivers in Japan?

I notice this again and again, and often are growling at the crap driving before I even see what car it is, so it’s not some kind of prejudice.

My theory is that the car simply attracts holier-than-thou types who think they have even more an entitlement because they have a green car. It’s certainly not due to actual concern for the environment that the Prius has become a bestselling car in Japan, that’s for sure. It actually seems to be more some kind of showing off, though I can’t quite work out how or why.

Things people in Japan are surprisingly slack about

– Crushing cans
 
– Recycling paper
 
– Take the caps and labels off plastic bottles for recycling
 
– Bicycle road safety (helmets rare, signalling when turning a corner unheard of, no children’s road safety in schools as far as I know, many bikes without headlights, no reflectors, little use of brightly coloured clothing to be noticed in the dark)

– Having brightly coloured cars to increase safety

Whereas Japan must be a world leader in dividing rubbish into burnable and unburnable and escalator safety announcements. Any theories on why the things above have escaped public attention??

Why won’t the Japanese switch to daylight saving time?

One theory is that the “change will chain office workers to their desks until 10 pm or later, since no employee will dare leave while the sun shines” Shutting Out the Sun pg 206. More importantly, there is a knee-jerk nationalist reaction against something that was imposed by the American occupation authorities and then scrapped.