Japan wants G7 agreement to accelerate decarbonisation efforts

TOKYO - Japan wants to push for the Group of Seven (G7) economic powers to agree on accelerating decarbonisation efforts through collaboration at the ministers' meeting on climate, energy and environment later this month, its industry minister said.

As the chair of the G7 this year, Japan will hold the ministerial meeting in Sapporo on April 15-16, ahead of the G7 summit in Hiroshima on May 19-21, to promote what it calls realistic energy transition.

"The G7 ministers share the same recognition that we must accelerate decarbonisation," Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry, told Reuters in an interview. He added that the G7 rich nations need to secure energy security and economic growth at the same time.

"We want to lead discussions on concrete paths and what should be done in cooperation," he said, noting that each country has its own economic and energy circumstances to consider.

Energy security risks in resource-poor Japan have risen since Russia's invasion of Ukraine heightened the threat of supply disruptions.

Japan and other countries recognise the importance of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas as energy sources for the transition period, Nishimura said, adding that a certain amount of upstream investment and financing is necessary.

But there are differences on the length of time required for the energy transition period, he said.

"I think we will need gas for about 10 to 15 years... but we will need to figure out what will happen after that," he said, adding he wanted a thorough discussion on financing of the upstream investment.

Asked if any further actions on Russia will be included in the communique of the Sapporo meeting, Nishimura said the G7 ministers will likely confirm their intention to carry out existing sanctions and reduce dependence on Russian energy.

One-time major Russian gas buyers in Europe have sharply cut purchases since last year but energy-poor Japan is still buying Russian gas in the form of LNG from its Pacific Sakhalin-2 project, which accounts for about 10% of its total imports.

"I have not heard from the G7 allies that Japan should reduce its dependence on Russian energy," Nishimura said. "The United States and Europe understand that the Sakhalin LNG is an important energy source for Japan and there have been no request for special action."

Japan continues to engage in resource diplomacy as Tokyo seeks to diversify energy supplies, with Nishimura personally visiting the Middle Eastern countries last year, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Asked about the surprise weekend decision by the OPEC+ members to cut production, Nishimura said: "There is absolutely no disagreement between Japan and the Middle East, but they have a different economic outlook from ours."

The global economy is likely to recover in the second half of this year, he added.


Source: https://www.zawya.com/en/business/energy/japan-wants-g7-agreement-to-accelerate-decarbonisation-efforts-rnw77tdr


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