This paper investigates the precedents, policies and factors relevant to a successful energy regime transition which may be applied in the Japanese case, through a review of national leaders in renewable energy deployment. The examples of Germany, Italy and Spain are of particular note for their progress along the transition pathway toward a low carbon energy regime. Transition theory is used as a framework to enable this assessment, and exogenous impacts specific to Japan such as recent and ongoing market liberalization and the Fukushima nuclear incident are considered as pertinent factors which impact upon the transition landscape. Through a comparative assessment of policy approaches, technologies deployed, and social factors impacting upon deployment, lessons are drawn for comparison with current Japanese transition progress, identifying factors critical to the future estimation of the Japanese transition pathway. Future energy transition pathway projections will need to incorporate policy approaches and mechanisms as well as being cognizant of Japan's geographic and cost-competitive RE resource deployment limitations. These limitations alongside existing generation assets (including nuclear energy) are expected to have a significant impact upon Japan's transition from the current pre-development phase toward take-off, acceleration and the stabilization of a new, low-carbon energy regime.
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