Qatargas announced on Wednesday it has signed a long-term deal to ship 0.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas annually to Japan\'s Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO). The first long-term bilateral agreement between Qatar\'s gas operator and KEPCO will see Qatargas 3 delivering 0.5 million tonnes per annum (MTA) of LNG for a 15 years starting in 2013, Qatargas said in a statement. KEPCO, Japan\'s second largest electricity company, is one of the original eight Japanese customers which signed a multi-party contract with Qatargas 1 back in 1994, the statement said. In June, Qatargas 1 signed a similar long-term deal with Japan\'s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to buy one million tonnes annually. The Gulf emirate, which holds the world\'s third-largest gas reserves, celebrated in 2010 raising its LNG production capacity to 77 million tonnes a year, boosting its position as the world\'s largest producer. Japanese power companies are keeping thermal power plants online while shutting off nuclear plants because of tense public opposition. On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude quake rocked Japan\'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The resulting 14-metre (46-foot) ocean wave knocked out the power supply, the reactor cooling systems and back-up diesel generators. With society\'s scars from the meltdowns at Fukushima refusing to heal, there has been a groundswell of public opposition to nuclear power, which once provided a third of energy-hungry Japan\'s electricity.