Ismail & Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani 2010).
Until the year 2010, Japan had oil reserves of 44 million barrels per-
day (bbl/d) and gas reserves of 738 billion cubic (Umana 2012). But the amount
was insufcient to cover the daily needs of the country. Thus the Japanese oil
producing’s companies had to engage in oil exploration in other countries such
as Indonesia, Papua New Guine, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the Congo.
Nowadays, Japanese-owned companies will invest and hold equity shares
in these countries for certain periods. Often the oil and gas produced will be
sent to Japan as unprocessed oil. Due to these factors, Japan has made large
amout of investments to improve security in the Straits as it wants to ensure
the maritime security in the area (Energy Information Administration 2011).
Malacca Straits is the most important routes in continuing trade
between East and West. This led Japan to take active steps to ensure that the
route is always safe from the threat of maritime crimes such as piracy, robbery
or terrorist. Malacca Straits is not only important to Japan but also to other
countries like China, USA and India (Energy Information Administration
2012). This is because the safety of navigation that starts from the Indian
Ocean, the Strait of Malacca, the South China Sea and into the Pacic Ocean
is a major factor that will determine whether a commercial activity can be
done effectively or vice versa. According to records released by the Marine
Department of Malaysia (2013), a total of 70,718 ships passed or traversed
through the Straits in 2007 and 73,538 ships in 2011. From these numbers,
13.8 million bbl./d of crude oil through the Malacca Straits in 2007 and the
number had been increased to 15.2 million bbl./d in 2011 (Inderjit 2012). 90
per cent of the energy is carried petroleum. From these statistics, the increasing
demand for energy increases each year is in line with the increase in industrial
activities in Japan.
Malacca Straits is also considered the closest convenient routes to
bring goods from the Middle East to Japan instead of using two alternatives
through Straits of Sunda and the Straits of Lombok. There are two main
reasons why the Malacca Straits is often the preferred choice for Japanese
trading companies. First, it can reduce costs and save time travel (Feldhoff
2011). If the shipping companies chose to use the Straits of Sunda or the Straits
of Lombok, they should add 30 yen per kilometre for travel (Sien 1998), or
USD 1.2 billion to add travel time to 2 weeks of using oil tankers (Wan Siti
Adibah, Zinatul Ashiqin, Noor Inayah & Noridayu 2012). Second, the Straits
of Sunda is also a relatively shallow for large ships (Evers & Gerke 2005).
The situation is not ideal and can pose a risk to ships such as being stuck or
bumping into objects that are oating in the sea. Along the Straits of Malacca,
there are also many ports for ship docking, repair or refuelling.
Article: Noraini Zulkii, Sharifah Munirah Alatas and Zarina Othman
Jebat Volume 41 (2) (December 2014) Page | 82