Number of gas stations going downhill in Japan
The number of gas stations in Japan is decreasing, and is now about half what it was at its peak some 20 years ago.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, there were 32,333 gasoline stations in the nation at the end of 2015, which is a little over half of 1994 when they numbered 60,421. The number has declined every year since then.
Officials at the ministry attribute this to the declining populations especially in rural areas, as well as to the fact that the gas price wars have led to gas suppliers closing their services. In addition the industry has gone through a drastic consolidation over the past 20 years, and the number of suppliers has been halved.
In Okinawa, municipalities with few gas stations are mostly located on remote islands or in the northern parts of Okinawa’s main island. Ogimi, Kadena, Tokashiki, Tonaki, Minami-Daito, Kita-Daito, Izena, and Tarama have one gas station each. Higashi, Nakijin, Zamami, Aguni, Iheya, and Kumejima have two. Ginoza, Ie, Yonabaru, and Yonaguni have three.
Fierce price competition among gas stations has further eroded the business. According to Nippon Petroleum Association, more than 40% of gas suppliers are currently operating in red.