Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2009

JAMA comments on the Japanese government's mid-term goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

Ahead of a new round of international climate change negotiations to take place in Copenhagen in December this year, Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso announced on 10 June that the Japanese government is committed to achieving a mid-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020.  He also stated that Japan is aiming to reduce GHG emissions by 60 to 80 per cent by 2050, and that similar efforts need to be made worldwide in order to meet the global climate challenge.

Mr Aso stressed that GHG reduction efforts should be governed by three basic principles, namely, (1) the inclusion of all major emitter countries in negotiations, (2) a balance between the environment and the economy, and (3) the achievement of long-term goals.

The prime minister pointed out that Japan's goal was calculated strictly on the basis of domestic initiatives, adding that the country "will make utmost efforts to develop and promote the widespread use of innovative technologies" by providing technical assistance to emerging economies determined to take action in this regard.   

Despite criticisms that Japan's mid-term target is not sufficiently ambitious, JAMA views it as posing a tough challenge to the motor industry, which nevertheless will make all possible efforts to help ensure its achievement.

In order to reduce CO2 emissions in the fight against global warming, Japanese auto manufacturers succeeded in improving the average fuel efficiency of their domestic new passenger car fleets by 25 per cent between 1995 and 2005.  Intensive efforts will now be made to raise fuel efficiency levels even further and to advance the technologies needed for the practical introduction of next-generation vehicles.  Meanwhile, JAMA is calling on government to adopt the full range of measures required to effectively promote the widespread use of such vehicles, as one significant means by which to help meet the national emissions reduction target.

Further CO2 reduction in road transport will, however, necessitate an integrated approach—in other words, a combination of individual measures taken by the stakeholders concerned throughout the sector.  These measures include not only road infrastructure development to mitigate congestion but also eco-driving and logistical improvements, as well as the development of the necessary supply infrastructure for the delivery of alternative fuels/power.
JAMA wholly supports the Japanese government's position that all major emitter countries should take part in the negotiations for a post-Kyoto international agreement, and that the terms and conditions of such an agreement must ensure fair international competition.
Finally, JAMA is also requesting that Japan's government take all the action needed to gain the support and cooperation of the Japanese people in the shift to a low-carbon society.