Japan to accelerate green initiatives while ensuring emerging Asia is not left behind, East Asia News & Top Stories
TOKYO – Japan’s energy security depends on that of countries in Asia, and Tokyo hopes to play a leadership role in helping emerging countries in the region avoid dirty coal and reduce their carbon emissions, the Japanese minister said. from Industry coming out at an environmental conference here.
“We must cooperate and establish mechanisms to attract investment and finance to ensure that no country in Asia is left behind,” Hiroshi Kajiyama said at the Partnership for Growth’s first annual ministerial meeting. green in Asia on October 4.
Japan has earmarked US $ 10 billion (S $ 13.6 billion) in this regard for the Asia Energy Transition Initiative to help move away from Asean, Central Asia and the Middle East. fossil fuels.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all countries, he noted. It was therefore important to obtain a commitment to carbon neutrality from countries first, and “as soon as possible” in accordance with the objectives of the Paris climate agreement to limit the rise in global temperature to less. 1.5 ° C by 2100, he said.
The meeting brought together industry ministers or their equivalents from 22 countries, including Dr Tan See Leng of Singapore, who is the second Minister of Trade and Industry.
China and South Korea were invited but did not attend, citing their holidays, a ministry official told the Straits Times.
Dr Tan, who is also Minister of Manpower, presented Singapore’s efforts towards green growth, including its efforts to boost solar energy and research and development of new technologies for reduction of emissions such as capture, use and storage of ammonia and carbon. .
Mr. Kajiyama’s presence at the meeting was one of his last duties before his successor Koichi Hagiuda was sworn in under the new government headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The Prime Minister is not only committed, but also determined to accelerate Japan’s energy transition, which began under his predecessor Yoshihide Suga.
Japan has long been accused of being addicted to dirty coal, and until recently had drawn attention to the export of coal-fired power plant technologies to emerging Asia.
The world’s third-largest economy, however, has changed course under global pressure and is now committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and reducing carbon emissions by at least 46% from 2013 levels by the end of this decade.
“It is more effective to make efforts according to the economic, social and energy situation and technological capabilities of each country,” Kajiyama said, noting the need to adopt “a variety of options, such as ‘nuclear energy, hydrogen and ammonia, to promote energy realistically transitions.
Hagiuda noted in his first press conference as industry minister on Tuesday that Japan, likewise, would “pursue all options” towards net zero emissions.
This includes the gradual restart of nuclear power plants after safety checks, although nuclear power still has a bad reputation in Japan after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Japan is also strongly committed to green technologies.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on October 6 that it was important to act now rather than later. The central bank will launch a program in December to provide zero-interest loans to financial institutions for investments that fight climate change.
The Financial Services Agency will likely require large companies to make climate-related disclosures, including carbon emissions, from April next year, the Nikkei reported. This will probably cover some 4,000 companies.
But apart from that, individual companies are also reducing their environmental footprint.
The Nikkei said in another report last week that Japanese oil giant Eneos Holdings would acquire the Tokyo-based start-up Japan Renewable Energy for more than 200 billion yen (S $ 2.4 billion) by buying out the shareholders. Goldman Sachs and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Tokio Marine, one of Japan’s largest insurers, said this month it would stop underwriting and funding new coal mining projects, while financial institutions like Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui withdrew. coal-fired power plant projects.
Tokyo held its first-ever decarbonization exhibition at the Tokyo Big Sight last month, with hundreds of companies including Tokyo-based Blue Biomass Fuel.
The company acquires palm oil from Malaysian plantations, which is then shipped to Japan for conversion into usable electricity.
Mr. Satoru Koizumi, of the company’s business planning division, told the Straits Times that Blue Biomass Fuel had worked with insurer Sompo to create what would be Japan’s first insurance contract for the biofuel supply.
“The program will compensate for losses caused by supply delays due to disasters or accidents, as well as the expense incurred by power plants when looking for alternative energy sources,” Koizumi said.