Japan: Some Way to Go

On October 22, 2021, Japan submitted its updated NDC.

The NDC presents improved targets compared to its previous version: reducing emissions by 46% by 2030 and potentially achieving a 50% reduction. This is a substantial increase from the previous target of 26%. A goal of net zero emissions by 2050 is also mentioned. However, it falls short of a 60% reduction, which would be aligned with a 1.5°C-compatible trajectory, according to the Carbon Action Tracker (CAT).

The NDC lacks detailed information on finance, contribution to sustainable development (including nature-based solutions) and adaptation, although Japan has an Adaptation Plan.

Although 46% is a significant increase from the previous target of 26%, there are no concrete policies and measures in place for achieving this new target. 85% of Japanese GHG emissions come from energy related CO2. However, the new updated Energy Mix plan still relies on a share of 19% of coal power, without any phase-out plans. The nuclear share (20-22%) seems unrealistic given the anti-nuclear sentiment in Japan. There isn’t an effective carbon pricing scheme yet in place in Japan or policies to promote energy efficiency.

According to the Checklist for the NDCs We Want and taking into account that Japan is a high-income economy responsible for around of 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we consider that the 2021 NDC has Some Way to Go to become the NDC We Want.

Japan’s priority should be to implement policies and measures to achieve and exceed this new target of reducing emissions by 46%, aiming at a 50% reduction. 

Looking for WWF's rating of Japan's previous NDC? The assessment and checklist are still available for download.