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The Japanese government is encouraging businesses to act against climate change


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (unseen) at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019. Charly Triballeau/Pool via REUTERS - RC1D82569DB0
Japan's has set itself ambitious climate change objectives.

The Japanese government has announced its long-term climate and growth strategyunder the Paris Agreement on climate change. The announcement comes ahead of the G20 Summit hosted by Japan this week (June 28-29) in Osaka.
Japan's national legislature, the Diet.
Image: Flickr/mbell1975
Japan's publication of the long-term strategy is a welcome contribution to the Paris Agreement process. Though it falls short of net-zero emission goals announced by other countries (such as the UKSweden and Costa Rica), it does include pioneering business engagement and innovation components. In fact, company actions are at the center of Japan's new long-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making it the first country to provide explicit government support for companies to set science-based targets (SBTs) for their greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
By stepping up with leading mitigation targets, Japanese companies are providing a foundation for the government to set more ambitious policies and regulations, initiating a positive feedback loop in which bold government policies and private sector leadership reinforce each other, and together take climate action to the next level.
Growing role of sector- and company-level approaches to climate stabilization
Japan notes in its long-term strategy that international climate programs including the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) "are becoming more influential, and the Japanese companies need to respond to such initiatives." As such, Japan's response to climate is focused on transitioning to a "decarbonized society" through business-led innovation, a theme articulated by the Japan Business Federation (theKeidanren) and mirrored in Prime Minister Abe's comments earlier this year. Sector emissions goals and science-based targets at the company level advance business-led climate innovation and broader greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.
Science-based targets are corporate commitments to reduce GHG emissions in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Japan's strategy—specifically the long-term strategy sections on industrial sector emissions mitigation and green finance—elaborates on a sector-by-sector approach, emphasizes the concept of value-chain-wide emissions, and promotes the efforts of companies to set science-based targets. These principles reflect the need for global, sector-wide mitigation actions for achieving climate stabilization, especially in the absence of strong policy action from the largest emitting countries.

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