Diplomatic Bluebook 2022
Japan Strengthening Its Presence in the International Community
2 Response to Global Issues
(1) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda)” is a set of international development goals to be achieved by 2030, which was adopted at the UN Summit in September 2015 as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) formulated in 2001. The 2030 Agenda sets out international development goals for realizing a society that is sustainable, diverse and inclusive, and where “no one is left behind,” by 2030.
The 2030 Agenda lists the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets that are interrelated and closely linked to each other, and which serve as development goals for the whole of the international community including developed countries.
After the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, Japan first built a foundation for the implementation of the SDGs by establishing the SDGs Promotion Headquarters headed by the Prime Minister, with the Chief Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Minister as the Deputy Chiefs and composed of all cabinet ministers as members, and formulating the SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles that set out Japan's medium-to long-term strategy toward the achievement of the SDGs and eight priority areas that Japan will place particular focus on. Furthermore, Japan puts great importance on public-private partnership for the implementation of the SDGs, and established the SDGs Promotion Round Table Meeting, bringing together stakeholders from a wide range of fields including the private sector, civil society, experts, and international organizations. It also engages in the exchange of views on initiatives by local governments and businesses toward the promotion of the SDGs, measures for the empowerment of women and the next generation, and strengthening cooperation with the international community among others.
At the 11th meeting of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters held in December 2021, key initiatives of relevant ministries and agencies toward the achievement of the SDGs were decided as the “SDGs Action Plan 2022.” This Action Plan sets out the intent to further promote efforts toward the achievement of the SDGs in both the aspects of domestic implementation and international cooperation based on the 5Ps described in the 2030 Agenda: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership as well as the eight priority areas listed in the SDGs Implementation Guiding Principles.
On the same day as the 11th meeting of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters, a conferment ceremony for the fifth Japan SDGs Award was held to commend companies and organizations that have put in place outstanding efforts toward the realization of the SDGs. This year, Euglena Co., Ltd. (Minato Ward, Tokyo Prefecture) received the SDGs Promotion Headquarters Chief's (Prime Minister's) Award for its efforts to deliver impact through its sustainable management, create employment and achieve increased income for farmers living in poverty, and provide food support to refugees in Bangladesh.
In terms of international activities, at the United Nations High–level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July, Japan's Voluntary National Review (VNR), which reports on Japan's implementation of the SDGs was presented for the second time in four years, and Foreign Minister Motegi participated via a video message. In the message, he stated that in deciding the VNR, the discussion has deepened between ministers on what efforts Japan needs to make within the Decade of Action, in particular to realize the vision of “building back better” from COVID-19. In addition, he also stated that Japan will be placing particular emphasis on initiatives in the healthcare and medical field to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), as well as realization of a green society and responding to climate change issues through digital transformation. Moreover, Prime Minister Suga attended the SDG Moment 2021 held in conjunction with the UN General Assembly High Level Week in September via a video message. In the message, he made statements based on Japan's VNR compiled by taking into account the valuable opinions of various organizations, associations and civil society. Prime Minister Suga acknowledged that the SDGs are an important compass to overcome unprecedented crises and lead the world to a better future. He stated that Japan will do its utmost toward achieving the SDGs by 2030 and creating a hopeful future through international conferences to be held within the year, such as the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021.
A Human Security
Human security is a concept that pursues the right of individuals to live happily and in dignity, free from fear and want, through their protection and empowerment. Japan positions human security as a guiding principle that lies at the roots of Japan's development cooperation in the Development Cooperation Charter approved in 2015. Japan has led discussions on human security in the UN, and supported the dissemination and implementation of the concept of human security by UN organizations through the contribution of a cumulative total of about 48.4 billion yen by the end of 2020 to the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, established in 1999 by Japan's initiative. Furthermore, in the area of bilateral cooperation, Japan has also put effort into the dissemination and implementation of this concept through support for Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects. The SDGs, which advocate a people-centered approach and the vision of leaving no one behind, also position human security at its core. At the General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly held in September 2020, in response to the proposal made by Prime Minister Suga, Japan cooperated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in conducting discussions toward compiling a special report on human security, which was published in February 2022. In addition, proactive efforts are being made toward revitalizing human security, such as the first meeting of the Group of Friends of Human Security held online in June 2021 with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in attendance, and the second meeting held again virtually in December of the same year.
B Approaches in the Area of Disaster Risk Reduction
200 million people around the world are affected by disasters every year (90% of the victims are citizens of developing countries) and the annual average loss incurred by natural hazards extends to approximately 140 billion US dollars according to estimates by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). As natural disasters have become more frequent and intensified due to climate change, disaster risk reduction is essential for realizing poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Japan makes the most of its expertise in disaster risk reduction, built up through numerous experiences with disasters, to actively promote international cooperation. At the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in March 2015, Japan took the lead in the adoption of the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030,” a guideline for efforts by the international community. Japan also announced the “Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction” as its independent contribution, which includes provision of 4 billion US dollars toward cooperation and training of 40,000 people in the four years from 2015 to 2018. With the achievement of these goals, Japan has been providing ongoing support for disaster risk reduction, including launching the Sendai Cooperation Initiative for Disaster Risk Reduction Phase 2 in June 2019, under which Japan plans to provide support to at least 5 million people from 2019 to 2022, in areas such as flood measures.
Coinciding with World Tsunami Awareness Day (November 5), proposed by Japan and enacted unanimously at the 70th UN General Assembly held in December 2015, Japan has hosted the High School Students Summit on “World Tsunami Awareness Day” four times since 2016. High school students from countries around the world are invited to this event, and through practical learning about Japan's history of tsunami, recovery from earthquake disasters, and preparations for a possible Nankai Trough earthquake, the participants make proposals for future challenges and implementation in their home countries. In 2021, in light of the spread of COVID-19, Japan co-hosted the event online, with the aime of improving awareness of tsunami preparedness with UNDRR, as well as a tsunami-related training program for female administrative officers and tsunami evacuation drills for schools in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan will continue to share the experiences and lessons drawn from past disasters with the world, and to promote the “mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction” that incorporates the perspectives of disaster risk reduction in the policies of every country.
In the area of education, Japan is engaged in various forms of educational support around the world under the “Learning Strategy for Peace and Growth,” announced by Japan in line with the timing for the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. At the World Assembly for Women (WAW!) held in March 2019, Japan announced that it will continue its efforts to provide opportunities for quality education and training to at least 4 million women in developing countries by 2020. Furthermore, at the meeting of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters held in June of the same year, Japan announced its commitment to the “Education × Innovation” initiative, which aims to provide education for innovation, and education through innovation to at least 9 million children and youths. At the G20 Osaka Summit (2019) chaired by Japan, an agreement was reached on the “G20 Initiative on Human Capital Investment for Sustainable Development,” which places the focus on education, and the commitment to invest in human capital and promote access to inclusive, equitable and quality education for all people was affirmed in the Initiative.
Since the beginning of 2020, schools were shut down due to the spread of COVID-19, resulting in the rapid increase of children in various parts of the world whose education opportunities were taken away. In light of this situation, Japan has committed to support education and human resource development for 7.5 million girls in developing countries, in addition to providing assistance worth over 1.5 billion US dollars to the education sector over the next five years at the Global Education Summit held in July 2021.
D Approaches in Agricultural Areas
In coordination with the relevant countries, such as G7 or G20 member states and international organizations, Japan has delivered assistance for agriculture and rural development in developing countries. The G20 Niigata Agriculture Ministers' Meeting was held in May 2019, during which the participants affirmed the importance of sharing knowledge among countries on various issues related to agriculture and food, such as human resources development and new technology, food value chains, and the SDGs. The “G20 Niigata Agriculture Ministers' Declaration 2019” was also adopted. Since 2020, through the support via international organizations and others, Japan has been addressing issues of deterioration of the food system due to the stagnation of distribution of agricultural products as a result of travel restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19.
In terms of global initiatives, Prime Minister Suga delivered a video message at the UN Food Systems Summit, which was held in a virtual format in September 2021. In his video message, Prime Minister Suga stated that Japan will work toward establishing better global “food systems,” focusing on the following three points: (1) to achieve both productivity improvement and sustainability by driving innovation, digitalization and the utilization of science and technology; (2) to maintain and strengthen free and fair trade, including the restraint of import and export restrictions based on arbitrary measures without scientific evidence; and (3) to take an approach considering each country and region's climate and nature, as well as their food culture.
E Approaches in the Area of Water and Sanitation
Japan has continuously been the largest donor country in the area of water and sanitation since the 1990s and has implemented high quality assistance utilizing Japan's experiences, expertise, and technologies. Japan proactively participates in discussions in the international community, and tackles global issues in the area building upon its contributions to date. In particular, since the outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020, Japan has been providing support through coordination with international organizations and agencies on the promotion of hand washing among other measures from the standpoint of preventing the further spread of COVID-19. The 4th Asia-Pacific Water Summit, which had been originally scheduled to be held in Kumamoto in October 2020, was postponed until April 2022 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
(2) Global Health
Japan advocates human security, which is the basis of its Development Cooperation Charter, while promoting various activities in support of that principle. Japan emphasizes cooperation in the area of health as a priority issue. Even amidst the global fight against COVID-19, Japan is promoting international cooperation focusing on the three pillars of 1) Overcoming the current pandemic, 2) Strengthening health systems to prepare for future health crises, and 3) Generating an enabling international environment for health security across broader sectors based on the idea of human security and its conviction of “leaving no one's health behind,” while also keeping in mind the goal of achieving UHC4.
As Covid-19 vaccines have become more available in 2021, Japan is working with the COVAX facility and through cooperation and collaboration with multinational initiatives, including the Quad Vaccine Partnership to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for countries around the world, including developing countries. In June, Japan co-hosted the COVAX AMC Summit5 with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and secured more than enough funding necessary (8.3 billion US dollars) to ensure 1.8 billion doses of vaccine are available for 30% of the population in developing countries by the end of 2021. On this occasion, Japan announced its plan to provide a financial contribution of 1 billion US dollars to the COVAX facility's Advance Market Commitment (AMC) as well as its commitment to donate 30 million doses of vaccine including through COVAX. In addition, Prime Minister Suga announced at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly held in September that Japan will provide up to 60 million vaccine doses in total to each country and region. Since June and until the end of February, Japan has provided 26 countries and regions with approximately 42 million doses of vaccines. At the same time, Japan has steadily implemented the “Last One Mile Support” to ensure the delivery of vaccines to vaccination centers in each country and region. Japan has earmarked and provided a total of 13.7 billion yen in support to 59 countries and regions.
In addition to addressing current COVID-19, in order to strengthen preparedness and response for future health crises, Japan is promoting cooperation among health and financial authorities keeping in mind the goal of achieving UHC, while contributing to discussions at international conferences, including G7/G20 and WHO, given its conviction that it is important to strengthen the global health architecture including WHO. In May, the World Health Assembly decided to establish a Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies. Japan actively engaged in the Working Group, which examined recommendations to strengthen WHO's preparedness and response to health emergencies, as well as considered the benefits of developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response during the months from July to November. The Working Group's work was presented to the Special Session of the World Health Assembly held in December, and the establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating body to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response was unanimously decided.
From the standpoint of developing an environment that ensures health and safety in a wide range of fields, Japan regards “nutrition,” which forms the foundation of human health, as indispensable for the achievement of the SDGs and an issue related to human security. As such, Japan hosted the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021 in a hybrid format in December. With endorsement received from 215 different stakeholders at the Summit, the Tokyo Compact on Global Nutrition for Growth, which indicates a concrete direction for international society to improve nutrition was issued, while commitments from as many as 181 stakeholders for nutrition improvement were submitted and a financial contribution amounting to over 27 billion US dollars was announced. This achievement exceeds the outcome from the previous Nutrition for Growth Summits. Appreciation for Japan's active contribution to address the issue of global nutrition was shown.
To further contribute to global health with the private and public sectors working together, given the experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, four sessions of the global health strategy promotion council have been held since July. The council is conducting deliberations with the goal of formulating a new strategy at the earliest stage possible by June 2022. (See the Special Feature at the beginning of page 2 for initiatives related to COVID-19).
- 4 Universal health coverage (UHC) refers to everyone receiving quality health services at an affordable cost and being protected from financial risks.
- 5 COVAX AMC Summit: Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit
(3) Labor and Employment
It is important to raise income levels through employment, in order to raise the living standards of those living in poverty. Against the background of an expanding supply-chain worldwide, it is necessary to put effort into developing the labor environment, and to realize “decent work” (work that is of an acceptable quality for motivated human beings) around the world. The realization of “decent work” has been positioned as a primary objective of the activities of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which marks its centenary year in 2019.
In view of this, Japan is also engaged in sustainable development cooperation in the field of labor. In 2021, Japan provided development assistance to developing countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Southeast Asia, South Asia and the African region (Sudan and Ethiopia), which includes assistance for urgent employment creation to address the impacts of natural disasters and COVID-19, the development of labor laws and social insurance systems, and improvement of the standards of occupational safety and health, by providing voluntary contributions to the ILO and support to networks of international workers' and employers' organizations.
(4) Environmental Issues and Climate Change
A Global Environmental Issues
Awareness is building worldwide on the importance of addressing global environmental issues, as exemplified by the 2030 Agenda, which embeds environmental goals. Japan is actively involved in conserving the natural environment and realizing sustainable development through negotiations and engagements in various multilateral environmental conventions and relevant international organizations. As the largest donor to the World Bank Group's Global Environment Facility, a financing mechanism for the major environmental conventions, Japan also contributes to projects that address global environmental issues such as biodiversity and chemical pollution, etc.
(A) Conservation of the Marine Environment
Addressing the problem of marine plastic litter is growing in importance in recent years, given its potential adverse impact on marine ecology, tourism, fisheries, and human health. The problem is caused by factors such as the illegal dumping of waste and incomplete waste disposal. In order to achieve “the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” that was launched at the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019, which aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050, Japan is working with international organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in areas such as compiling scientific knowledge and providing assistance on building models necessary for measures against marine plastic litter contamination, in providing environmentally appropriate plastic waste management and disposal support in the Asian region.
In recent years, there has been a growing momentum for formulating a new international legally binding instrument to address marine plastic pollution. Taking into account the establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating committee at the Resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly held from February to March in 2022, Japan will be playing a leading role in supporting rule formulation.
The Third Leaders Meeting of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy was held on November 2. The Panel is composed of leaders of maritime nations and was established to discuss matters such as conservation of marine environments, fisheries and utilization of marine resources. A message from Prime Minister Kishida was read at the meeting that discussed Japan's initiatives to tackle climate change and marine plastic litter, indicating Japan's intent to advance efforts toward realizing a sustainable ocean economy. Leaders of 15 member countries, including the U.S., which newly announced its participation in the Panel, issued a joint statement to urge all actors to join the efforts of the six ocean-based climate actions, and achieve a sustainable ocean economy.
(B) Conservation of Biodiversity
The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held in two parts, with the first part being held both online and in person in Kunming, China from October 11 to 15. Approximately 2,500 participants representing Parties/regions, related organizations, citizen groups, and others joined online, while 2,900 attended in person. The Government of Japan was represented by a delegation consisting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of the Environment.
A high-level segment was held from October 12 to 13, which was attended by the leaders and ministers of each country. Minister of the Environment Yamaguchi Michael Tsuyoshi represented the Government of Japan through online attendance. During the high-level segment, each country presented its initiative toward the 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature,” while Japan pledged to provide a total of 17 million US dollars of international support through the Japan Biodiversity Fund (JBF 2). The Kunming Declaration was adopted to enhance the momentum for the adoption of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework during the second part of COP15 (scheduled to be held in Kunming, China from April 25 to May 8, 2022).
In recent years, the illegal wildlife trade has been exacerbated, drawing international attention as one of the key sources of funding for international terrorist organizations. As a follow-up to its provision of elephant anti-poaching operation facilities in Uganda and Mozambique in 2019, Japan decided to provide the same monitoring facilities in Zambia in 2020, and in Rwanda in 2021, underscoring Japan's intention to seriously address this issue.
Japan is also contributing to international discussions on the strategy to mobilize funds for promoting conservation and sustainable uses of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, with a view to enhancing sustainable agriculture and food security. At the 3rd and 4th meetings of the Standing Committee on the Funding Strategy and Resource Mobilization of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture held in February and September 2021, Japan, as a regional representative, provided advice on funding strategy and resource mobilization dealing with support and monitoring to monetary and non-monetary benefit sharing and access to genetic resources. At the 57th Session of the Council of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), held online in November, Japan participated in discussions on the formulation of a new strategic plan and enhancing cooperation with other relevant organizations to enable efficient implementation of sustainable forest management and trading of legally harvested timber in the Tropics.
Nutrition is vital to human life. Undernutrition such as hunger, caused by poverty and the impact of climate change continues to pose significant challenges. Currently, more than 140 million children around the world suffer from stunted growth as a result of undernutrition, while nutritional deficiency causes about half the deaths of children under five. At the same time, the number of people who are overweight and obese reaches record levels regardless of high-income or resource-limited countries, and it is said that approximately 2 billion people in the world suffer from diseases related to their dietary habits, such as diabetes.
On December 7 and 8, the Government of Japan hosted the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit 2021.(Note) This Summit was attended by a wide range of participants including from governments, international organizations, private sectors, civil society, and the academia. The Summit covered the subject of “the double burden of malnutrition” whereby undernutrition coexists with overnutrition, and discussions were held with a focus on five thematic areas such as (1) Health; (2) Food; (3) Resilience; (4) Accountability; and, (5) Financing, to address the deterioration of nutrition worldwide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the Summit, “the Tokyo Compact on Global Nutrition for Growth” was issued as the outcome document endorsed by more than 210 stakeholders including governments, international organizations, private sectors, and civil society, indicating a direction for the international society to improve nutrition. Moreover, more than 180 stakeholders, including 66 countries and 26 companies, submitted over 390 commitments, and over 27 billion US dollars of financial commitment were announced. These results exceeded the outcomes of past Nutrition for Growth Summits. Prime Minister Kishida announced that Japan will provide nutrition-related assistance that will amount to over 300 billion yen (2.8 billion US dollars) over the next three years, to contribute to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) among others. He also stated that Japan would improve domestic nutritional status by promoting nutritional and environment-friendly dietary life, balanced diets, and health and productivity management.
In the preparatory process, Japan worked closely with non-governmental international civil society and experts, and their engagement and cooperation contributed greatly to the success of the Summit.
Improving nutrition is related not only to the second goal of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also to a wide range of sectors such as health, agriculture, logistics, water, sanitation and hygiene, and gender equality. Therefore, advancing initiatives through cooperation between the various sectors can bring us closer toward achieving the SDGs.
Based on the concept of human security, the Government of Japan is determined to promote initiatives to ensure that no one's health is left behind. This includes the achievement of UHC. Going forward, it will continue to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, including improving nutrition worldwide.
- Note: The first Nutrition for Growth Summit was held in London in 2013, and the second Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
(C) International Management of Chemicals and Hazardous Waste
The 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer Part II and the 33rd Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer were held online in October. At the meetings, matters such as the efficient and effective operation of the protocol were discussed.
The Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, which regulates the movement of hazardous waste across national borders, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade were held, in which the 2022 activity plan and provisional budget were approved, and a review on external funding related to the support for development countries was discussed.
The 4th meeting of the Conference of the Parties for the Minamata Convention on Mercury was held online in November, in which matters such as the budget and activity plan for 2022 were discussed. Furthermore, the second part of the Conference was held in Indonesia in March 2022, in which matters such as a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of the Convention were decided. Japan is playing an active role in its contribution to the Convention's implementation, including representing a member of the Implementation and Compliance Committee to conduct the implementation of the Convention and verify the status of compliance by the Parties to the Convention even during the intersessional periode.
B Climate Change
(A) Initiatives to Achieve Net-zero Emissions by 2050
In October 2020, Prime Minister Suga declared that Japan would aim to realize carbon neutrality with net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. At the Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by the U.S. in April 2021, Prime Minister Suga declared that Japan aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% in fiscal year 2030 from its fiscal year 2013 levels, setting an ambitious target which is aligned with the long-term goal of net-zero by 2050. Furthermore, he stressed that Japan would continue strenuous efforts in its challenge to meet the lofty goal of cutting its emission by 50%. In October, the Cabinet decided the updated Plan for the Global Warming Countermeasures and the Strategic Energy Plan. In addition, Japan has submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that reflects the new reduction target and the Long-term Strategy under the Paris Agreement that reflects initiatives aimed at achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 to the UNFCCC Secretariat.
(B) The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Paris Agreement
Global efforts are essential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change; however, the Kyoto Protocol adopted at the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) in 1997 required only developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement was adopted at COP21 held in Paris in December 2015. The Paris Agreement is a fair and effective framework that requires the Parties to submit their nationally determined contributions NDCs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and undertake efforts toward the achievement of such goals regardless of whether they are developed or developing countries. The Agreement entered into force in November 2016, and has been ratified by more than 190 countries including Japan (as of November 2021).
Upon the adoption of the Paris Agreement, negotiations commenced on the implementation guidelines of the Agreement toward its full implementation after 2020, and except for the implementation guidelines for market mechanisms, they were adopted at COP24 held in Katowice, Poland in December 2018. At COP26, which was postponed from November 2020 to October 31 to November 13, 2021 due to the impact of the spread of COVID-19, significant progress was made in the steady implementation of the Paris Agreement and the promotion of climate change countermeasures worldwide, including a decision on the implementation guidelines for market mechanisms, which had been negotiated at COP24 and COP25 without a decision , based on the breakthrough proposal made by Japan.
(C) Efforts in Supporting Developing Countries
Developed countries including Japan have provided various supports including financial support, capacity building, and technology transfer for developing countries to implement sufficient climate change countermeasures. Japan announced in June 2021 at the G7 Cornwall Summit that it would provide climate finance, both private and public, totaling 6.5 trillion yen over the 5 years from 2021 to 2025. In the Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communiqué, the leaders of the G7 committed to an end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021. At the World Leaders Summit held during COP26 on November 1 and 2, Prime Minister Kishida announced in his statement that Japan would make an additional contribution of up to 10 billion US dollars, both public and private in the coming 5 years, as well as doubling its support for adaptation from the previous commitment made (ACE2.0) to 1.6 trillion yen, in the coming five years, both in public and private finance.
From such perspectives, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) also plays an important role as a multilateral fund that provides support for developing countries to address climate change. In addition to its initial contribution of 1.5 billion US dollars (2015 to 2018), Japan committed that it would contribute up to 1.5 billion US dollars for the first replenishment (2020 to 2030). Moreover, Japan has actively participated in its management as well as policy-making as a member of the GCF Board. By December, the GCF Board had approved 190 projects, which are projected to prevent 2 billion tons of CO2 emissions and increase the resilience of 600 million people.
(D) Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM)
The JCM is a mechanism for quantitatively evaluating the contributions of Japan to greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals which are achieved through the diffusion of, among others, leading decarbonizing technologies as well as through the implementation of measures in developing countries and others, and for using such contributions to achieve Japan's NDC.
As of November 2021, Japan has established the JCM with 17 partner countries, and implemented more than 200 projects related to the reduction or removal of greenhouse gases. In 2021, the initiative has steadily produced results, such as through the issuance of credits from projects in Kenya.
(E) Japan's efforts in Climate Change and Fragility Risk
In response to suggestions at the Roundtable Seminar on “Climate Change and Fragility Implications on International Security” held by MOFA in January 2017 and other fora, that Japan will focus on the Asia Pacific and conduct studies and engage in discussions on climate change and fragility, Japan has been convening the International Conference on Climate Change and Fragility in the Asia-Pacific Region since FY2018. In FY2021, in response to the publication of the second part of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, the Working Group II contribution, in February 2022, a conference for discussing the theme of the impact on animals due to climate change was held in March 2022.
(F) Climate Change Measures by Non-State Actors
Measures by non-state actors such as private corporations, local governments, and NGOs are also important in tackling climate change. In Japan as well, non-state actors have made further progress in their efforts, as demonstrated by keen activities of the network of non-state actors, including Zero Carbon Cities in Japan, comprising local municipalities that have declared the goal to reach Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Japan Climate Initiative (JCI), which aims to take proactive action in the area of climate change, the Japan Climate Leaders' Partnership (JCLP), a corporate group with the same goal, and “RE Action–Declaring 100% Renewable,” a corporate group whose members have established the goal of procuring 100% renewable energy for the electricity required in the operation of their businesses, as well as the increase in the number of Japanese corporations participating in the international initiative “RE100” and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)6. Japan intends to promote diplomacy in the area of climate change while collaborating with such non-state actor driven initiatives.
- 6 The TCFD was established by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) as a task force on the disclosure of financial information related to climate change, led by the private sector. In its final report, it presented a framework on voluntary information disclosure by corporations pertaining to climate-related risks and opportunities.
There is growing interest in climate change in Japan, as damages from heavy rains and floods, extreme heat in summer, and other phenomena related to climate change have increased in frequency in recent years. Today, climate change is one of the most frequently discussed agenda in international fora. From the past to the present, Japan has consistently played a leading part in these international debates and development of countermeasures to climate change at various levels in both public and private sectors. It was in 1992 that a treaty on climate change was signed under the United Nations' framework, based on the recognition that climate change is a global issue that needs to be discussed on a global scale. However, Japan had already unveiled its Action Program to Arrest Global Warming ahead of the treaty in 1990. This Action Plan clearly sets out Japan's responsibilities in the global community in the context of addressing climate change, as stated that Japan must actively fulfill a role commensurate to its international status, by harnessing its economic and technological prowess to provide support and assistance to developing countries. In fact, Japan has continuously and proactively provided support in various ways to date through its official development assistance (ODA) programs, broadly contributing to global climate change actions. This includes support for “mitigation” to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as support toward “adaptation” to the effects of climate change already happening. Japan has also led global discussions on climate change from an early stage, as exemplified by its initiative in leading discussions on the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which sets out the specific numerical targets for greenhouse gas reductions by developed countries with the schedule to achieve the targets. Japan has continued its role by leading the discussions on the current global trend toward decarbonization based on the Paris Agreement. Today, even after the Paris Agreement has come into effect and global efforts toward decarbonization have taken a great leap forward, Japan has continued to make responsible commitments toward decarbonization. For example, Japan has announced a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% in FY2030 from its FY2013 levels, which followed the announcement of the long-term target to realize net-zero by 2050.
Not surprisingly, Japan's contributions are not limited to the aspect of policy making and diplomacy. While solar power has now become a driving force toward global decarbonization, it is Japanese companies that had played a key role in improving the performance of solar cells and contributing to their practical deployment in a way that reconciles cost aspects as well. This took place at about the same time that international discussions on climate change countermeasures began to move forward. In 1999, Japan came first place in the production amount of solar cells. Even though China makes up the largest share of solar cell production today, Japan is still expected to make great contributions in the field. For example, Japanese researchers were the ones who had developed thin-film solar cells, rooftop solar cells, and mega solar cells, as well as perovskite solar cells that can be applied to surfaces such as walls. Japanese manufacturers such as Toshiba are the global leaders in the development of such products. In addition to renewable energy, efforts in the fields of storage batteries and hydrogen are also important toward decarbonization. Companies such as Panasonic and Toyota possess world-class technologies in these fields and are working on accelerating decarbonization initiatives. We look forward to such initiatives from Japan, and their future contributions to climate action on a global scale.
(5) Arctic and Antarctic
(A) Current State of the Arctic
There is a risk that rapid changes in the Arctic environment caused by global warming will have a drastic and irreversible impact on the ecology and the lives of the residents. At the same time, as the decreasing amount of sea ice is expected to expand the navigable area, there have been growing economic opportunities such as the use of the Northern Sea Route and the development of resources.
Alongside this, Russia announced the Basic Principles of Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic to 2035 and the Strategy for Developing the Russian Arctic Zone and Ensuring National Security until 2035 in 2020. It is also promoting military facility maintenance, resource exploitation and freight shipping on the Northern Sea Route. At the Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council (AC)7 held in May, Russia took over the chairmanship of the Council from Iceland (two-year term).
China, in recent years, has positioned itself as an “important stakeholder in Arctic affairs” and is observed to be proactively advancing into the Arctic with its participation in resource development, commercial use of shipping routes, governance development, and scientific research.
Against this backdrop, the U.S. is also enhancing its engagement in light of changes in the situation of the Arctic, including announcing an over 12 million US dollar economic aid policy for Greenland (Denmark) in 2020, and reopening the U.S. Consulate in Nuuk in June after nearly seven decades. The U.S. announced new Arctic strategies from each of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard between 2019 and 2021 in response to changes in the security situation.
In the meanwhile, the European External Action Service and the European Commission issued a joint communication to announce a new Arctic strategy plan in October. This includes, for example, a policy of seeking to encourage multilateral legal obligations that would prohibit further hydrocarbon reserve development in the Arctic and contiguous regions and the purchase of resources produced by these deposits, which shows the growing interest in balancing climate change and environmental protection measures with economic activity in the Arctic.
- 7 An intergovernmental forum established in 1996 with the aim of promoting cooperation, coordination, and interaction among the eight Arctic countries (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S.), while gaining the involvement of indigenous communities on common issues related to the Arctic region (in particular, sustainable development, environmental protection, etc.). (It does not address military and security issues.) Japan acquired an observer status in 2013.
(B) Japan's Arctic Policy and International Activities
As for Japan, it is aiming to contribute to the global society as a major player in addressing the Arctic issues with an emphasis on the three areas of research and development, international cooperation, and sustainable use, based on the “Japan's Arctic Policy” approved in 2015.
Taking the opportunity of the AC Ministerial Meeting held in Iceland in May, Japan's ambassador in charge of Arctic Affairs made a statement on Japan's international contribution. At the 8th Arctic Circle Assembly8 held in October, the Ambassador to Iceland shared the results from the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) meeting. At ASM3 co-hosted by Japan and Iceland (AC Chair at the time) in May, which was the one to be held for the first time in Asia, the ministers concurred that international cooperation and data-sharing in observational research, collaboration with indigenous peoples and capacity building, and education for the youth in the field of international scientific cooperation and so on should be promoted. In addition, Japan also declared its intent to further promote international cooperation such as through the operation of the Arctic research vessel as an international platform.
Through the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability II (ArCSII) launched in FY2020, Japan promotes international cooperation for research and human resource development at research and observation stations in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Norway, and Greenland (Denmark) among other locations. Japan has also sent its researchers to the AC working groups. As for the Arctic research vessel proposed in ASM3 for use as an international platform, it has been under construction since 2021.
Moreover, Japanese experts from various fields and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials attended the International Symposium on Plastics in the Arctic and the Sub-Arctic Region hosted by Iceland as AC chair (March), the Icelandic Chairmanship's Observer online event on Arctic Governance (April), and the Second meeting on the Implementation of the Arctic Science Agreement (April), where they presented Japan's initiatives, research results and cooperation policy.
- 8 An international conference established by Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of Iceland and others in 2013, and attended by about 2,000 participants including government representatives, researchers, and business people. Japan has been participating in it since the first assembly with the attendance of the Ambassador in charge of Arctic Affairs and other delegates.
(A) Japan and the Antarctic
Japan has been conducting Antarctic observation surveys utilizing its advanced technology at Syowa Station established in 1957, thereby contributing to global environment conservation and international development of science and technology. Moreover, as one of the original signatories of the Antarctic Treaty adopted in 1959, Japan strives to maintain and strengthen the Antarctic Treaty System, which is essential to the peaceful use of the Antarctic, while contributing to the promotion of environmental preservation and international cooperation in the Antarctic.
(B) The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) and the Protection of Antarctic Environment
At the 43rd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM 43) held virtually in June, discussions were held on issues such as response to the rapid increase in the number of visitors to the Antarctic environment for tourism and other purposes, as well as response to climate change issues in the Antarctic.
(C) Japan's Antarctic Observation
As for Japan's Antarctic observation activities, based on the ninth six-year plan of the Japanese Antarctic Research program (2016 to 2021), Japan is undertaking efforts to elucidate the role and impact of the Antarctic region on the global system, and in particular, to elucidate the actual conditions of global warming and its mechanisms. To that end, in addition to long-term continuous observation, it is also implementing various research and observation activities, including observations using a large aperture atmospheric radar, which is the only one of its kind in the Antarctic.