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TOKYO, June 23 (Reuters) - Japan's demand for direct-burn crude and fuel oil for power generation this summer will be 10-20 percent lower from a year ago due in part to slow power demand and utilities raising their reliance on coal, the head of an industry association said.
Yasushi Kimura, the president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) and also chairman of the nation's biggest oil refiner JX Holdings, told reporters on Monday that summer power demand is likely to be down 1 to 2 percent in kilowatt-hour basis. July and August are peak summer months in Japan.
Japan's 10 regional utilities have been stepping up plans to increase electricity output from coal and natural gas to replace lost nuclear power, with a prolonged shutdown of reactors continuing and rising prospects that many units may not come back online.
Japanese utilities curbed their fuel oil and crude oil consumption by 12.8 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively, last July, as coal usage rose 15 percent for the month from a year earlier to a record high, industry data showed.
The utilities also curbed their fuel oil consumption by 27.9 percent last August to 229,000 barrels per day (bpd), while crude consumption fell by 4.7 percent to 230,000 bpd. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)