JAPAN - Ongoing changes to Japan's electricity sector have been accelerated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country in March.

With the electricity infrastructure still suffering disruptions, meeting peak power consumption has become a challenge, which is why Japanese companies try to mitigate peak demand.

Japanese trust bank Chuo Mitsui believes investing in hybrid batteries that can store electricity efficiently is the way forward and is bullish on the manufacturers of such batteries, as well as on gas and coal-fire power plants.

Christopher Renwick, director head of sales and marketing at Chuo Mitsui's London office, said: "Alternative ways of electricity production and consumption are an even bigger deal than they were before the earthquake.

"They are particularly important in view of the fact that when nuclear plants are now closed down for inspection, they are not necessarily being restarted again."

The firm also believes in the huge growth potential of the retail sector concerning white goods such as washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers, as well as the solar and wind power sector.

Shigeru Oshita, chief fund manager in Chuo Mitsui's Japanese equity group, said: "Market participants dislike the homes appliances sector, because prior to the earthquake, it was in decline.

"But we expect pent-up demand from the sector, as consumers seek to significantly improve the power consumption of their appliances, which the government continues to promote despite its halt to subsidies at the end of 2010.

"Since the earthquake struck, demand has been on the increase as people are becoming increasingly aware of saving power."

Another post-earthquake beneficiary, according to the trust bank, is the real estate market after the buildings proved to withstand substantial seismic activity.

In the past, Japanese property prices hit rock bottom, mainly due to concerns about their robustness during tremors.

Renwick believes that some of the concerns surrounding other countries in Asia - such as inflation, labour costs, social instability and a potential stock market bubble - do not apply to Japan.

Instead he says book values of Japanese companies are very cheap, with the only fly in the ointment being the current political situation, a situation he thinks will change in the not-too-distant future.