The earth’s heat is free, and that might explain why businesses and their lobbyists have not promoted geothermal energy.
I don’t know why Japan can’t be exploiting geothermal energy, inasmuch as they are in a “ring of fire.” This argument by a business-guy in Forbes certainly does not hold water:
If it could be done, they would have done it.
More to the point, there are those who have done more than throw out opinions about this matter. For example, this report, which goes into a bit of detail surrounding their observation that
Japan is sitting on enough untapped geothermal power to replace all its planned nuclear stations over the next decade.
I’m betting they’ll go this route, even if it does mean less profit for some.