Feed-in tariff (FiT) policy approaches for renewable energy (RE) deployment are employed in many nations around the world. Although FiTs are considered effective in boosting RE deployment, the issue of increasing energy bills and social burden is an often-reported negative impact of their use. The FiT has been employed in Japan since 2012, following after many developed countries, and, as was experienced in other nations, led to a social burden imparted on society significantly higher than initial government estimates. Although policy decision making does not necessarily reflect international policy experience, it is still prudent to ask how international policy experiences of social burden increase were considered within the Japanese approach. In this research, we analyzed the transfer process by adapting a conventional model to develop more objective observations than was previously possible, by setting a benchmark for evaluation based on prior international experiences. We identified two streams of policy transfer, each led by different actors; the government and representatives of the National Diet of Japan (Diet). Both actors were exposed to the same experiences, however the interpretation, application to policy development and priority settings employed were vastly different. Although the framework can only assess policy learning processes, we have found that the government undertook a reasonable and rational process toward learning, while, on the other hand, the modified bill developed by the Diet members did not thoroughly derive learnings in the same way, due to cognitive and political reasons, and specifically, the issue of limiting social burden was not addressed.
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