With hefty targets, news of big moves by foreign and domestic players coming almost weekly and a first batch of major auctions under way, the tag ‘next big market in offshore wind’ would seem tailor-made for Japan right now. The reality, however, is more complicated.

The Japanese government has good reasons to get behind offshore wind. It has the potential to supply significant amounts of green power to a nation where suitable land for large-scale onshore renewables development is at a premium and the other big source of emissions-free electricity – nuclear energy – is fraught with difficulties as it controversially ramps back up after the Fukushima disaster 10 years ago.