【Report】 IEA’s new report says Japan needs fast action now

On March 4th, IEA (International Energy Agency) released the report “Japan 2021” as one of its latest in-depth reviews of countries’ national energy policies. The report notes that Japanese success in making its transition toward a clean energy system requires proceeding with innovation and market restructuring.

IEA rates highly Japan’s progress towards developing an efficient, resilient and sustainable energy system in the decade after 2011’s Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. However, Japan still needs to increase the share of zero-emission energy sources by 2030 in order to achieve its recently-announced target of carbon-neutrality (net-zero emissions) by 2050.

Key Points:

  • In the last decade, Japan has achieved a reduction in fossil fuel imports and continuously reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the expansion of renewable energy, reactivation of some of its nuclear power plants, and by improving energy efficiency.
  • Japanese GHG emissions in 2018 had decreased by 12% compared to 2013, returning to the same level they had in 2009.
  • In 2019, Japan remains reliant on fossil fuels, which account for 88% of its total primary energy supply (TPES). This makes Japan one of the highest carbon-intensive countries among IEA member countries.
  • Further regulatory reformation will play an important role in zero-emission investment promotion and expanding the flexibility of Japan’s energy system.

Based on its analysis of issues related to Japan’s energy system, IEA provides the following recommendations for the Government of Japan to expand the use of safe and affordable sustainable energy:

  • Map out energy scenarios, including road maps, for achieving the 2050 decarbonisation aim that take into account various futures for the development of energy sources.
  • Establish price signals to encourage investments across the economy in efficient and low-carbon technologies.
  • Encourage investments in the electricity network and improve electricity system operations to facilitate the cost-effective integration of larger shares of variable renewable electricity sources, achieve a diverse mix of low‑carbon electricity generation sources and enhance security of supply.
  • Advance the electricity and gas market reform and consider making the Electricity and Gas Market Surveillance Commission a more independent regulator.

Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, stated “Japan needs to accelerate the deployment of low-carbon technologies, remove regulatory barriers and increase competition in its energy markets if it is to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050.”


IEA press release:Innovation and market reform needed to drive Japan’s clean energy transition, IEA policy review finds

Written/Published by :  IEA (International Energy Agency)
Published : March 4, 2021