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Japan companies call on government to accelerate low-carbon shift in coronavirus recovery

06/25/2020 | 06:46am

By Aaron Sheldrick

Aeon Co., Asia's largest retailer, Fujitsu, Ricoh Co. and other firms called on Japan's government to accelerate a shift to renewable energy and a zero carbon economy during the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Meeting with Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi on Thursday, representatives of the Japan Climate Leaders Partnership (JCLP), a grouping of 144 companies, submitted recommendations that included making renewable energy more accessible, and introducing carbon pricing.

Japan has long been criticized over its government's strong support for coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG), and its weak targets for renewable energy and emissions cuts.

"All the members of the JCLP are very frustrated over this and especially the government's NDC," said Kahori Miyake, executive officer, corporate social responsibility at Aeon Co., told Reuters by phone after meeting Koizumi.

She was referring to Japan's National Determined Contribution (NDC) to cut carbon emissions by 26% in 2030 from 2013 levels and the government's target for renewables to account for 22-24% of Japan's electricity mix by then, with the rest mostly accounted for by fossil fuels.

Japan's government should allow companies to buy renewable energy supplies outside its mandatory feed-in-tarriff scheme to cut costs, Miyake said. The government will find strong support from companies if it changes policies to foster more renewable energy and reduce emissions, she said.

"Many Japanese companies are eager to make changes and we are pressing the government to facilitate that," Miyake said.

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Thomson Reuters 2020
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