Nobel Prize-winning scientist Akira Yoshino will head a new government-funded international research center focusing on reducing carbon emissions to net-zero, industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Friday.
The new body will consist of 300 to 400 scientists, including from the United States, France and Germany, working on innovative technologies such as hydrogen fuel and more efficient methods of solar power, to realize net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases.
“Environmental issues are a common concern of mankind. I hope our research will make the impossible, possible,” Yoshino told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a meeting at Abe’s office.
“We need to gather wisdom from around the world” to tackle climate change, Abe said, adding that he was heartened by Yoshino taking on the role.
Yoshino, a 71-year-old honorary fellow at chemicals maker Asahi Kasei Corp., received last year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry along with U.S. scientist John Goodenough and the U.K.’s Stanley Whittingham for their work on the development of lithium-ion batteries.
The body will be set up under the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and incorporate existing laboratories in Fukushima, Ibaraki and Osaka prefectures. “I expect the new institution will lead innovations by working with research centers in Japan and abroad,” Kajiyama told reporters.
Japan is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels, but critics say the country should set a more ambitious target. As a long-term goal, Tokyo has pledged to slash emissions by 80 percent by 2050.