Some food for thought for the weekend on where Japan stands right now on a range of environmental issues:
- Since becoming prime minister in September, Suga has pushed climate change higher up the national agenda than ever. On the latest Deep Dive podcast, JT staff writer Ryusei Takahashi joins host Oscar Boyd to discuss Suga’s pledge to make Japan carbon neutral by 2050. Also, contributor Eric Margolis tells us how Japan is already being affected by climate change.
- As part of the plan to hit net-zero, Suga has vowed to ban new internal-combustion engine cars by the mid-2030s. Toyota boss Akio Toyoda has derided the plan as ill-informed and unrealistic, saying any emissions savings would be offset by increased energy generation to power electric cars. In his Media Mix column, Philip Brasor examines the claim.
- Kamikatsu, a tiny village in the mountains of Tokushima Prefecture, has made a name for itself with its forward-looking zero-waste policies. As Florentyna Leow reports, the INOW program offers a chance for visitors to muck in with local residents for two weeks and see how it’s done. “Think of it as tourism to change your own perspective,” INOW co-founder Terumi Azuma says.
- Every little helps in the war on plastic waste and marine pollution, right? Jiji reports that the shared use of reusable shopping bags for staff is increasing at local governments and businesses, while the Environment Ministry has decided to launch a new initiative to support firms and NPOs that start cleanup events and introduce services to cut the use of single-use plastic products.
- Closed-down schools are a sad but common sight around Japan due to the nation’s low birth rate. But every cloud has a silver lining: Some bright sparks down in Kyushu had the idea of covering the schools’ abandoned swimming pools with solar panels, with the water acting to stop the panels overheating and increasing their efficiency.