Japan Hot Spring Association calls for balanced approach to geothermal

Japan Hot Spring Association calls for balanced approach to geothermal Spa at Kannawa Hot Springs, Beppu, Japan (source: Oniyama Hotel)
Carlo Cariaga 13 Jul 2022

The Japan Hot Spring Association is appealing for policy that will promote geothermal power generation in Japan, yet will preserve the country's hot spring culture.

On June 21, 2022, the Japan Hot Spring Association held their own in-person general meeting in three years after the restrictions caused by the pandemic. One of the major topics discussed during the meeting was the potential of geothermal power generation in Japan and its possible effect to Japanese hot spring culture.

Newly reelected Chairman Sasato acknowledged Japan’s national policy that aims for carbon neutrality by 2050. This policy has put the focus on geothermal power generation. However, the association calls for policy that is meaningful for energy productions but also allows for the protection of limited hot spring resources.

“The hot spring culture is pervasive in Japan, with 130 million people staying at hot springs annually. Geothermal power generation is now used for conventional hot springs.” said Ministry of the Environment Director Yoshiaki Kitahashi. He added that the minimum line for geothermal power generation is that it should not affect the conventional use of hot springs.

Part of the agenda’s meeting was to strengthen the efforts to register Japanese hot spring culture as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, and to enact measures to prevent COVID-19 infection when using hot springs.

Interest in geothermal development in Japan is growing. Earlier this year, NZ-based GNS Science and Geo40 announced a geothermal coalition that will increase the presence of two companies in Japan. There has also been an interest in using new geothermal heat recovery technology in Japan, as well as hydrogen production using geothermal energy.

Source: The Travel News