Major Japanese steel manufacturers are speeding up technology development and investment in a push to decarbonize their operations.

According to statistics compiled by the National Institute for Environmental Studies, carbon dioxide emissions from the steel industry account for roughly 50% of the total from the domestic industry sector. Decarbonization by steelmakers, therefore, is essential to Japan's bid to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The top three steelmakers operate blast furnaces, which produce steel by burning iron ore and coking coal. They are making efforts to expand the size of electric furnaces — which emit less CO2 than blast furnaces — and to develop a method for substituting hydrogen for coking coal in steel production.