Regenerating a city with smart energy OCTOBER 8, 2020 REPORT

Japan’s green innovation commitment

On October 26, 2020, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide declared in a policy speech in an extraordinary session of the Diet that Japan aims to reduce GHG emissions to zero, to make Japan a carbon-neutral, decarbonized society by 2050. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Kajiyama Hiroshi said in a press conference after the speech that, “Japan has adopted a new growth strategy of taking on the challenges of carbon neutrality to maximize our resources to create a virtuous economic and environmental cycle” (see Figure 1).

Prime Minister Suga (left) delivering his policy speech and METI Minister Kajiyama holding a press conference

Toward 2050

Japan needs to fully consider the following imperatives in driving toward carbon neutrality in 2050.

  1. Fully leverage and promote existing technologies while systematically prioritizing the development and deployment of key new technologies.
  2. Even with energy conservation, electrification, power source decarbonization, and hydrogen fuel initiatives, a world without fossil fuels may not be realistic. Consequently, negative emission technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide will also be a critical element of Japan’s approach.
  3. A wide range of policy options will need to be considered to tackle long-term uncertainties surrounding technologies and strategies for industrial sectors where decarbonization is particularly challenging.

Carbon neutrality vision

The industrial, business & household, and transportation sectors account for the great majority of carbon dioxide emissions generated by energy consumption. The graphics below illustrates the potential paths to carbon neutrality for key industrial sectors. However, it is important to be mindful that these potential roadmaps will depend on a diverse range of technologies and societal approaches.

Key Industrial Sectors

Business and household sectors

Transportation sector

Source: excerpted from materials presented at the Third Green Innovation Strategy Meeting

Key considerations for carbon-neutrality by 2050

Following Prime Minister Suga’s policy speech, the Japanese government plans by the end of 2020 to produce a roadmap for priority areas to address toward carbon neutrality by 2050. As well as a deep dive into technical targets, the roadmap presents industry and market visions and summarizes the social implementation approach through systems and frameworks.

Source: Excerpted from materials presented at the Third Green Innovation Strategy Meeting.