Japan’s chemical companies need to combine their most carbon-intensive businesses into a national "champion” if they are to survive an industry transformation driven by global decarbonization efforts, the chief executive of one of the country’s top chemical firms said.

Jean-Marc Gilson, the Belgian executive who heads Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., called on Japanese petrochemical makers in the country to follow his lead and combine petroleum assets into a company that can compete globally and invest in emission-reducing technology.

"Petrochemicals need to go through a transformation — that will require a lot of capital, and no one by themselves will be able to do it,” Gilson said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Tokyo last week.