At a national level, Japan is committed to the Paris Agreement. At COP22, Japan was one of the first countries to sign on to the 2050 pathways platform. On 14 November in the Japan Pavilion at COP23, Masaharu Nakagawa, Minister of the Environment and Yasuo Takahashi, Vice Minister of Global Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of the Environment shared their continued commitment to building a carbon free future for Japan.
Japan has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030 as compared to 2013 levels and by 80 percent by 2050. One key area of work has been on developing a hydrogen energy model – this is one strategy to combat emissions where Japan is taking the lead. They are committing to a hydrogen energy model to power transport as well as other energy needs.
Vice Minister Takahashi acknowledged that technological, social and economic elements must be addressed simultaneously as Japan is developing a new energy model. This process will demand innovative technologies as well as behavioral and cultural shifts.
Cities are taking various steps on their own and in line with national policy to further lower emissions and improve resilience. Yokohama, the second largest city after Tokyo is implementing a city action plan that includes installing battery banks in schools to serve as virtual power plants. They are also following the lead of the national government and envisioning a hydrogen future for the city. The city has begun to integrate MIRAI hydrogen cars into their fleet and has plans to build more hydrogen stations while pushing hydrogen fueled cars onto the market.
Japan has placed an emphasis on private sector partnerships in making the transition to a less carbon dependent economy. One Japanese housing company, Sekisui House Ltd., places environmental concerns at the center of their business, aiming to neutralize home energy use with energy generation and energy saving technologies. Tetsuo Iku, Executive Vice President of Sekisui House echoed the message of Vice Minister Takahashi, saying that “solving social issues through housing is important.”