Business, Finance & Economics

Energy-efficient gadgets in Japan

Earlier this month, one of Japan's biggest electronic retailers concluded a program offering customers store credit if they bought energy efficient products. This spokesman for the retailer says reducing energy consumption is a problem for everyone. Here on the streets of Tokyo's gadget neighborhood, most people aren't concerned about buying an energy efficient product. People say price is most important. This shopper says energy efficient product promotions have no effect on him. Japanese businesses have tried convincing consumers that buying energy efficient products saves the most money in the long run. When Japanese consumers buy a product, it's marked how a particular model compares with the standard for a given product. Products sold in the U.S. have similar ratings, but they're harder to understand. This analyst says it's crucial for Japan to get through to consumers because their energy use is rising steadily. In the end though this consumer-based approach may be the wrong tactic says this analyst. He says the real challenge is to lower the energy that goes into production, a process called embedded energy. The cost of shipping consumer goods is part of that equation too. This week Japan's two biggest shippers announced they would be adding solar panels to a new cargo ship due this December, the first shipper that will be partly powered by solar energy.

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