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Japan's hydrogen prowess in peril as China, U.S. and EU poised to overtake

TOKYO -- Fully 50 years ago, Japan, reeling from rocketing oil prices, began investigating how to develop an energy source that's now among the world's favorites for future decarbonization strategies: hydrogen.

Then decades ahead of its time, Japan is now confronted with an all-too-familiar risk, experts say. Just like with solar panel and battery technology, it faces being overtaken by dynamic rivals -- the European Union, U.S., South Korea and China -- unless it accelerates and goes big in the nascent technology's commercialization.