At COP27, Japan is an absent subscriber. Admittedly, its environment minister, Akihiro Nishimura, was due to arrive on Saturday 12 November in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) after a flight aboard ANA’s “Green Jet” – a Boeing 787 covered in a “skin of shark” improving air circulation, which reduces the consumption of kerosene. The archipelago has also set up a stand where it promises “solutions for the world”. But its Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, did not make the trip. The head of government “wanted to come but couldn’t” due to a busy parliamentary agenda, they say in Tokyo.
This lack of interest explains the attribution to Japan on November 9 of a “fossil of the day”. This “prize” is given by the Climate Action Network (CAN) movement to countries “who do the maximum to do the minimum”. “The Japanese government is making huge efforts to export fake solutions”regretted the CAN, among other things by promoting coal-fired power plants and investments in fossil fuels.
The world’s fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the Archipelago is qualified as “greenwashing wonder” by the NGO Oil Change international (OCI), because it remains an important public financier of fossil fuels: 10.6 billion dollars per year on average from 2019 to 2021. It also massively finances gas projects, in Mozambique, in the Philippines or even in Australia and Russia, which, according to OCI, threaten biodiversity and the livelihoods of local communities. “Japanese funding increases recipient countries’ dependence on fossil fuels, worsening climate and energy crises and destroying people’s livelihoods”condemns Ayumi Fukakusa, from the Japanese branch of the NGO Friends of the Earth.
These criticisms are not new. Japan has already obtained “fossils of the day” at COP25 and 26, for its financing of fossil fuels and its attachment to coal.
They highlight the ambiguities of a country where greenhouse gas emissions fell over one year by 5.1% in the financial year ended at the end of March 2021, to stand at 1,150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO eq.2). An evolution without real effort because, specifies the Ministry of the Environment, “the main factor is the reduction in energy consumption due to the reduction in production and the reduction in passenger and freight traffic” during the Covid-19 pandemic. The decline is also a result of population decline.
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