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A Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Partner since 2012, Japan has cemented its role as a global leader in advocating for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) reductions, particularly when it comes to pursuing energy efficiency as a key strategy for combatting these lethal super pollutants. A significant part of this work is Japan’s dedication to the lifecycle management of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which demonstrates the country’s strategic commitment to our current and future climate, as well as clean air.

This leadership is crucial given that HFCs are a group of industrial chemicals used primarily for cooling and refrigeration. As short-lived climate pollutants, they are many times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet and proliferate around the world as the demand for cooling increases. With their consumption expected to double by 2030, they are among the fastest growing greenhouse gases.

Japan has stronger regulations on HFCs than most other countries in the world. Along with France and Nigeria, Japan launched CCAC’s Efficient Cooling Initiative in order to mobilize high level political support for action around the world Japan was also a leader in the Biarritz Pledge for Fast Action on Efficient Cooling that was formed by several countries attending the G7 meeting in Biarritz, France in 2019.

Japan's Minister for the Environment, Shinjirō Koizumi, speaking at the launch of the Fluorocarbon Initiaitve.

With a network of strong legislation, Japan has focused on the entire lifecycle of HFCs—from the time cooling equipment is built, over the entirety of their use, and then finally in ensuring that they are disposed of and recycled properly. This is crucial because while the Montreal Protocol, through the Kigali Amendment, tackles upstream emissions by phasing out HFCs, there has often been a management gap when it comes to the everyday use, repair and destruction or abandonment of cooling equipment in landfills. Japan is tackling this gap head on with the Initiative on Fluorocarbon Lifecycle Management, launched in 2019 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25).

This is an international effort to properly recover, dispose of and recycle fluorocarbons in partnership with countries such as France, Chile, Singapore and international organizations like the World Bank as well as entities from the private sector. Japan’s work on this topic has been longstanding, and includes the establishment of the  Fluorocarbon Recovery and Destruction Law (now Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons) in 2001 and its revision in 2019, which aims to regulate emission control over the entire life cycle of fluorocarbons. Japan isn’t just making sure this happens domestically, but is committed to nations around the world having the resources to do the same.

Japan is also committed to tackling other short-lived climate pollutants, demonstrated in its 2016 Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures which sets 2030 reduction targets for both methane and HFCs. The countryis further working to reduce methane emissions from rice paddy fields by promoting lower emission agricultural practices, including shifting from the use of rice straw as mulch to composting. Japan is carrying out this work both at home and abroad, including the bilateral funding Japan provides to help Vietnam implement this work along the Mekong Delta.

Japan leads the world in the percentage of waste utilized in waste-to-energy facilities, burning an impressive 74.2 percent of its municipal solid waste in energy recovery systems. It operates more than 380 waste-to-energy plants domestically and is looking to export its expertise to other countries. It is already pursuing agreements to construct plants in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The Japanese private sector is also tackling food waste in innovative and cutting-edge ways, including using Artificial Intelligence on production lines to reduce the amount of food that never reaches consumers. Furthermore, Japan’s support to the CCAC Trust Fund has helped cities and countries across Asia to develop municipal solid waste plans to reduce SLCPs.

In the Transport sector, the allowable maximum desired value for emissions from vehicles prescribed by the Minister of the Environment, and based on the Air Pollution Control Act, have been continuously tightened over the years, with a focus on high-emitting heavy-duty trucks and buses. All new diesel vehicles are now equipped with diesel particulate filters.

On 3 September, 2020, Japan held the Online Ministerial Meeting on the Platform for Redesign 2020 to share experiences and views on climate actions and environmental protection measures as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting was chaired by Japan’s Minister of the Environment, Shinjiro Koizumi, with full support from the UNFCCC Secretariat. A total of 96 countries, including presidencies of COP25, COP26, and Pre-COP26, joined the meeting . The website “Platform for Redesign 2020” also launched a Green Recovery platform to spur a global greening of the post-coronavirus economic recovery in order to build back better. Japan recognizes that, like a global pandemic, the battle against air pollution and climate change cannot be fought in isolation. The country is committed to solidarity with the rest of the world and is dedicated to the ongoing work of strengthening global cooperation and partnership to build a better future.

More examples of Japan's work are highlighted below.

CCAC Activities

Activity | Agriculture
Ongoing
We must act now to reshape agriculture in ways that support farmers, improve productivity, build resilience, and reduce emissions. The goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be met without...
Workstream | Agriculture
Ongoing
Paddy rice is a staple crop for much of the world’s population. It is also a key source of the greenhouse gas methane, responsible for about 40 million tonnes, or 10% of global emissions , each year...
Paddy rice production

Other activities

Heating and Cooling

  • In 2019, Japan revised the Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons to tighten regulations on fluorocarbons recovery (which includes HFCs) with the aim of achieving a recovery rate of 50 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2030. It requires users of cooling equipment, demolition operators, and scrap and/or recycle operators to ensure that fluorocarbons in the equipment are properly recovered before the disposal.
  • As of 2020, the Ministry of the Environment promotes installing equipment with low-GWP refrigerants by providing financial assistance with business operators considering switching equipment with fluorocarbons. 
  • From 2018, in partnership with Viet Nam and Thailand and under the Joint Credit Mechanism, Japan launched two projects installing fluorocarbon destruction facilities. These projects promote the lifecycle management of fluorocarbons and contribute to capacity building internationally.  
  • The Basic Energy Plan, approved by the Cabinet stipulates the goal of realizing the Net Zero Energy House (ZEH) concept in a majority of newly-constructed houses constructed by house-builders, building contractors, and other construction companies by 2020 through efficient heating, cooling and so on.

Agriculture

  • In 2019, the basic policy of the Food Recycling Law was announced to halve business-related food loss and waste by 2030. The legislation mandates a national directive as well as action by local municipalities.
  • As of April 2019, 53 Recycling Loop Systems had been approved by the national government to collect, transport and then recycle food waste for agricultural products.
  • Japan is working to reduce methane emissions associated with rice cultivation by promoting a soil preparation that involves replacing the plowing-in of rice straw, of which the methane emission factor is relatively large, with the application of rice straw compost, which has fewer emissions.

Waste

  • Japan is working with several countries, including Brazil and Malaysia, on a Global Methane Partnership to better capture and recover methane from landfills.
  • In 2016, the Global warming countermeasure plan began work to reduce municipal solid waste and its resulting methane emissions by reducing the direct landfilling of organic waste and reducing and recycling as much waste as possible. Furthermore, the plan promotes semi-aerobic landfill structures for any newly constructed landfill sites.
  • Japan supported the development and official adoption of a National Waste Management Strategy and Master Plan for Myanmar which will improve solid waste collection, treatment and disposal, and significantly reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
  • Japan supported the Development of a Regional Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Zone 6 and 7 in Maldives which will maximize public awareness, promote waste separation, proper collection, composting, and recycling.
  • Japan supported the Development of the Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan for Negambo City, Sri Lanka to enhance Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management, including collection, diversion and sound disposal, whilst ensuring citizen engagement and financial sustainability, as well as strengthening organizational capacity.

Transport
   

  • In 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government launched its Zero Emissions Tokyo Strategy, a plan to spend more than 74.6 billion Yen in the 2020 financial year to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and reduce other short-lived climate pollutants through measures such as eliminating marine plastic waste and food waste. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is also working to increase hybrid buses and trucks by requiring businesses with over 30 vehicles (amounting to some 1,700 businesses in 2015) to submit a Vehicle Emission Reduction Plan.
  • In July 2018, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) launched the Global Facility to promote Quality Infrastructure Investment for Environmental Preservation and Sustainable Growth (QI-ESG) to increase financing through private sector partnerships for environmentally friendly infrastructure development such as waste disposal, air pollution prevention, and green mobility solutions.
  • In 2017, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Bureau of Transportation rolled out hydrogen-powered buses that shuttle between Tokyo Station and Tokyo Big Sight in the district of Odaiba. They have zero emissions and actively filter fine particulate matter.
  • In 2017, the Joint Crediting Mechanism Financing Program funded a waste-to-energy plant in Yangon, Myanmar.
  • In 2016, Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (JICA) issued its Climate Change Cooperation Strategy with an emphasis on linking climate actions under the Paris Agreement to development efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • In 2015, new fuel efficiency standards for small cargo vehicles were rolled out, making them over 26 percent more fuel efficient than in 2012. More accurate methods for testing fuel efficiency were also implemented as well as efforts to reduce Black Carbon emissions through better inspection and maintenance of vehicles.
  • As of 2020, 33 products were included in the Top Runner Program, first introduced in 1999, that puts in place energy efficiency standards for energy intensive products like home appliances and vehicles.

Resources

Address

Ministry of the Environment, 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 100-8975
Japan
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