- To address the threat of global warming, the Japanese government has adopted several measures to reduce emissions of CO2, methane nitrous oxide from energy and non-energy sources and to promote eco-efficient technology and products.
- Japan has set the targets to reduce emissions by 3.8 per cent in 2020 compared to the 2005 level (announced during the COP19 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw in 2013) and by 80 per cent compared to the 1990 level by 2050 (outlined in the fourth Basic Environment Plan in 2012).
- Japan also aims to raise the share of renewable energy out of total primary energy supply to 10 per cent by 2020.
The Basic Environment Plan was adopted in 1994 based on the Basic Environment Law, enacted in 1967 to engage all sectors of the Japanese society in protecting the environment. The Basic Environment Plan was then revised in 2000, 2006 and 2012. The latest fourth Basic Environment Plan issued in 2012 outlines the following objectives:
- Promote a low-carbon society
- Adopt policies to promote a green economy, local capacity building and strategic approaches for international negotiations
- Implement policies for decontamination and recovery of radioactive materials following the East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
- In 1998, the Act on Global Warming was adopted and specified companies’ responsibilities for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and required companies to establish and publicize action plans.
- In 2005, the first amendment to the Act on Global Warming required companies to estimate and report GHG emissions and government to make the data publicly available. A Voluntary ETS (JVETS) began in Japan.
- In 2006, a second amendment to the Act on Global Warming was made adopting the Kyoto Mechanism allowing domestic trading and surrendering overseas emission reductions.
- In 2008, the third amendment to the Act on Global Warming required local governments to develop energy policies and provide companies with GHG reduction guidelines. It also kicked off the Offset Credits (J-VER) system.
In 2010, the Bill for the Basic Act on Global Warming Countermeasures was proposed with the following policy measures:
- Introduce an Emission Trading Scheme
- Review taxation system and consider global warming tax
- Expand Feed-In-Tariff for renewable energy
- Promote the use of renewables, energy-saving equipment and buildings, promote education and learning and disseminate information on GHG emissions
MRV and Data Management
- Monitoring and Reporting Guidelines are equivalent to those of the EU ETS and Japan encourages appropriate emissions verifications by the third party verifiers.
- Data on emissions is collected at a facility level as well as a national level.
- The carbon tax (Tax for Climate Change Mitigation) on CO2 emissions from all fossil fuels was enforced in October 2012. The tax rates have been consistent or gradually increased across sectors. The revenues are neutral and used to curb CO2 emissions from energy.
- Japan’s Voluntary Emissions Trading Scheme (JVETS)
JVETS was launched in 2005 to support over 200 businesses not part of the Keidanren (a business association in Japan) in reducing emissions and ended operation in March 2014. JVETS was led by the Ministry of the Environment and helped to accumulate knowledge and experience of operating a cap and trade scheme.
- Integrated domestic market for emissions trading (or “Trial Implementation”)
An initiative to link JVETS with the “Keidanren’s Voluntary Action Plan (VAP) toward 2020” – a voluntary commitment in 1997 among a majority of installations registered as a member of the Keidanren (a business association in Japan) - implemented a trial version of a domestic emissions trading scheme in 2008. The idea of the establishment of a national emissions trading scheme is based on the Basic Act on Global Warming Countermeasures which stipulates the establishment of a domestic emissions trading scheme to:
- Set emissions allowance to achieve target reduction
- Allow flexible fulfillment of reduction obligations
- Promote cost-effective emission reduction
- Subnational Emissions Trading Scheme
Over 30 local governments have started their own mitigation schemes/programs that require businesses to draft their GHG reduction plans. For example, launched in April 2010 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Emissions Trading Scheme requires mandatory reduction of absolute CO2 emissions in urban emitters, such as office buildings and factories.
Offset and/or Other Emission Reduction Crediting Programs
- Offset Credits (J-VER)
Emissions reduction by SME, agriculture and forestry and other domestic projects are verified as reliable credits for market transactions.
- Bilateral Offset Credit Mechanism (BOCM)/ Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM)
Japan uses flexibility mechanisms to meet its emissions targets by purchasing credits from abroad. GHG reductions from BOCM/JCM are monitored through a sophisticated MRV system.
Other Climate Financing Instruments
- Feed-in Tariff
Japan seeks to raise the share of renewable energy through the feed-in tariff. Under this scheme, electric power suppliers are required to procure the whole renewable electricity at a fixed price. They collect surcharges from electricity users to cover the costs.
The Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MoEJ) and the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) convened the 11th Workshop on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories in Asia (WGIA11) from July 5 (Friday) to 7 (Sunday), 2013, in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, in order to facilitate the enhancement of cooperative relationships towards improvement in the accuracy of national GHG inventories in the Asian region and to support non-Annex I (NAI) Parties in Asia to develop and improve their GHG inventories.
- More news from the Ministry of the Environment of Japan is available here.
Documents & Presentations
- The Government of Japan, Rio+20 Government of Japan Initiatives of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan, 2012
- Ministry of the Environment, Japan’s Climate Change Policies, 2012
- Ministry of the Environment, Details on Japan’s Carbon Tax for Climate Change Mitigation, 2012
- See Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC), MOEJ/GEC New Mechanism FS Programme focusing on Bilateral Offset Credit Mechanism, 2012
- The Government of Japan, Submission: Japan’s view on options and ways for further increasing the level of ambition, 2012
- Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan MRV Guidelines, 2012
- See Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Classification of MRV of GHG Emissions/ Reductions: For the discussions on NAMAs and MRV, 2012
- Ministry of the Environment, Overview of the Bill of the Basic Act on Global Warming Countermeasures
- Ministry of the Environment, An Overview of Japan’s Environmental policy, 2011
- Ministry of the Environment, Japan’s Ministry of Environment Initiatives on Bilateral Mechanisms for Mitigating Climate Change, 2011
- Ministry of the Environment, Capacity Building Project for MRV of GHG Emission Reduction in Africa, 2011
- Japan Bank for International Cooperation, GREEN and J-MRV: Public Private Financial Partnership, 2010
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan’s Initiatives to address Climate Change Issues
- Ministry of the Environment, Japan’s Climate Change Policies and MRV Initiatives
- Ministry of the Environment, Japan’s Policies and Efforts on GHG Inventory, Measurement and Reporting
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