One and half months have passed after the Japanese government raised consumption tax from 5% to 8%. Many people predicted an aggressive consumption prior to the tax hike and a possibility of reaction after April.
Although Japanese energy demand has been in downward tendency in the past couple of years, both petroleum and electricity demands rose on year in March. Then demand slipped again after April.
However, can we say those were rush demand and reaction against it? Especially, electricity demand significantly fluctuates by weather conditions. I think April data are not enough to be recognized as reaction.
Petroleum demand recorded year-on-year decreases during March and May last year, and is falling further between April and mid-May in this year. Even though, current monthly decreases are still below the average of the past few years.
If we look back on 1997 when the last time Japanese consumption tax rate was increased from 3% to 5%, regional petroleum demand rather increased after the taxation change. Japan's petroleum demand started to decline in late 1997 in step with economic slowdown.
Energy demand in Japan seems not affected directly by the consumption tax increase, once again.