Regenerating a city with smart energy OCTOBER 8, 2020 REPORT

A New Cross-Ministry Initiative

Innovation to Combat the Challenge of Climate Change

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) with cross-ministry support hosted the first Green Innovation Strategy Meeting on July 7.
The Green Innovation Strategy Meeting is tasked with promoting innovation and new technologies that help combat the challenge of climate change. The Green Innovation Strategy Meeting will also play key roles in the promotion of Green Finance and fostering support for greater international cooperation for the business-led adoption of innovative green technologies.

“Beyond Zero”

State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry MATSUMOTO Yohei kicked off the meeting with remarks highlighting the critical role innovation will play in arresting global warming and fulfilling the promise of “Beyond Zero” technologies that can reduce the accumulated stock of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere. Senior officials from the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of the Environment also spoke to underline their support for this cross-ministry initiative.

The Green Innovation Strategy Meeting was chaired by YAMAJI Kenji, Senior Vice President/Director-General, Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) who outlined the Meeting agenda and delivered closing remarks. A distinguished panel of 15 experts including Nobel Laureate Dr. YOSHINO Akira, Honorary Fellow, Asahi Kasei Corp. / Director, Global Zero Emission Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), participated in the Meeting. Drawn from academia and the private sector, they each bring a wide range of specialist knowledge to discussions.

New “Zero Emissions Challenge”

At the first Meeting, the assembled experts listened to a series of presentations by keynote speakers. METI Green Finance Director, KAJIKAWA Fumihiro, delivered a presentation outlining the “Zero Emissions Challenge”, a new initiative to build a database for investors that tracks the performance of companies in developing and implementing innovative green technologies. The new database will measure company performance based on a set of 39 criteria related to CO2 emissions reduction and is aimed at encouraging investment in enterprises that score highly.

Carbon Capture & Carbon Recycling

Other presentations included a survey report by an official from the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global GHG emissions and outlook moving forward. NEDO was followed by presentations by senior representatives from private-sector firms Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Group and Asahi Kasei Corp. who shared the latest developments in the key Green technologies of carbon capture and carbon recycling.

The Green Innovation Strategy Meeting is supported by a 10-member Working Group chaired by Professor SEKINE Yasushi, from the Faculty of Advanced Science and Engineering, Waseda University. The Working Group also met for the first time today in a closed-door session straight after the close of the Green Innovation Strategy Meeting.

“Green Innovation Dashboard”

Moving forward, the Green Innovation Meeting supported by the Working Group is tasked with developing a “Green Innovation Dashboard” to unify the mapping and tracking of the progress of a wide range of key Green technologies. This “Green Innovation Dashboard” will play a role in both benchmarking progress and clarifying Japan’s roadmap toward achieving its 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. The next Green Innovation Meeting is set for September with a final report including recommendations expected by year-end.

Prof. Dr. YAMAJI Kenji
Senior Vice President
Director-General, Research
Institute of Innovative
Technology for the Earth
Prof. SEKINE Yasushi
Faculty of Advanced
Science and Engineering
Waseda University