Japan pledges financial support for ASEAN's decarbonization

 Smoke billows from Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki on April 23, 2021. (PHOTO / AFP)

( Recommended by Selena Xie - Xie Yanmei )  TOKYO - Japan's government pledged financial and technological support to help ASEAN countries accelerate their efforts to decarbonize their economies and combat global climate change, its industry minister said on Saturday.

Energy-poor Japan aims to turn into the world's leading hydrogen economy to reduce dependence on traditional polluting fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

As the chair of the Group of Seven nations (G7) this year, Japan will hold a ministerial meeting on climate, energy and environment in the city of Sapporo on April 15-16, ahead of the main G7 summit in Hiroshima on May 19-21, to promote what it calls realistic energy transition.

"Japan will take a lead in providing generous support in finance, technology and personal resources to help Asia's decarbonisation," Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a ministerial meeting of the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC).

The AZEC was proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last year with the aim of sharing the philosophy of promoting decarbonisation in Asian nations and cooperating to push forward energy transition.

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At the first AZEC meeting on Saturday in Tokyo, which ministers from several ASEAN countries and Australia are attending, the push for collaboration will include renewable power, natural gas, hydrogen, ammonia among others, Nishimura said.

Japan will stress the importance of investment in gas, liquefied natural gas as well as hydrogen and ammonia during its presidency of the G7 this year but would keep it clean to meet 2050 carbon neutral goal, a source said this week.