26th September 2022, Tokyo – The Japanese government, one of the world’s largest financiers of fossil fuels, is hosting Tokyo GX Week from September 26 to October 7. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration is promoting the so-called “GX (Green Transformation) strategy” to decarbonise society. The Japanese government claims it is essential to accelerate “transitions” utilising a wide range of technologies and energy sources, taking into account the conditions of each country, rather than taking a uniform approach. What this really means is that the Japanese government is promoting the use of fossil hydrogen and ammonia not only domestically, but also overseas including developing countries in Asia.

It is important to note that most of the hydrogen and ammonia available today are made using fossil fuels. Promoting co-firing hydrogen and ammonia with existing coal or gas-fired power plants is problematic as they have little effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and even some research points out that such fuels even increase emissions. Further, as the cost of renewable energy is going down, there is little sense in promoting such fuels. Contrary to what the government is saying, these technologies delay the transition and prolong the use of fossil fuels.

The climate crisis is an urgent issue. For example, Pakistan is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis as one-third of the country is inundated with 8 million people displaced. The impact of the climate crisis is becoming more real and felt around the world, especially in the Global South. What we need is an end to our dependence on fossil fuels, but Japan’s GX strategy is all about fossil fuels.

In conjunction with the opening of GX Week on the 26th, civil society groups in Japan, Indonesia and other countries took action to protest against The Japanese government’s imposition of “false solutions.”

Lidy Nacpil, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development says “Every year we move closer to climate collapse, yet the Japanese government and Japanese corporations are proudly showcasing false solutions to the climate crisis. These are not “solutions” the world needs. In fact, these so-called solutions prolong fossil-fuel use and in some cases even exacerbate emissions. This conference is an attempt to delay the rapid, equitable and just energy transition the world urgently needs.”

Fanny Tri Jambore, WALHI (The Indonesian Forum for the Environment) says “The promotion of the use of hydrogen and ammonia co-firing, as well as the use of LNG, cannot be considered as an energy transition, but rather an effort to accommodate the company’s interest in continuing to use fossil fuel. The real agenda behind this is to increase corporate control over the energy market by using the issue of climate change as an opportunity to achieve this goal. Japanese investment that still encourages the use of fossil fuels, such as the ammonia project at Suralaya Power Plant in Banten or Masela LNG Project with CCUS in Arafura Sea, is another phase of 21st century colonialism under the guise of energy transition. Indonesia is currently experiencing an oversupply of electricity (up to 6.7 GW on the island of Java-Bali alone),  which provides a huge opportunity to stop using fossil energy and start increasing renewable energy-based power generation, instead of getting stuck on false solutions.”

Yasuko Suzuki, Kiko Network says, “The Japanese government is promoting the usage of hydrogen and ammonia, but its estimate on potential emission reductions does not take into account emissions generated during the production of those fuels. Moreover, by co-firing gray ammonia with coal at 20%, fuel costs will be twice as expensive as the costs for a typicalcoal power plant. Hydrogen and ammonia do not contribute to emission reductions and are not economically viable. These are not decarbonisation measures.”

Ian Rivera, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice says, “The Japanese government and their corporations are failing us  and exposing their nature as climate laggards. Japan is investing up to $47.4 million to expand the ammonia supply chain including new facilities that combine coal and ammonia.  We cannot allow Japan and its corporations  to sell us these greenwashing false solutions. We can only save our peoples and planet  if heavy promoters of fossil fuels like Japan and its institutions and corporations are actively contributing their fair share of genuine solutions. They must undertake a rapid phase out of all kinds of support for fossil fuel energy.”

Hiroki Osada, FoE Japan says “The Japanese government is pushing Asian governments to expand gas, delaying the phase-out of fossil fuels in Asia. We are also witnessing that Japanese-funded gas projects, such as in the Philippines, have been destroying rich marine ecosystems, on which local fishing communities depend for their livelihoods. As a result, many fisher folks are suffering to make a living. The government of Japan must listen well to the voice of communities in Asia that clearly oppose Japan’s support for gas expansion, and take climate action based on the needs of local communities.”

Hasan Mehedi, CLEAN Bangladesh says,”We cannot stand idly by while one of the world’s top fossil fuel importers actively promote more climate-destructive technologies. The government does not want to embrace the solution, but rather choose to export these expensive and unpredictable technologies into Asia.”

Saktiman Ghosh, National Hawker Federation India says,”Japan is still using more excuses to prolong the energy transition. For example, co-firing ammonia still accommodates coal. The promotion of this disastrous tactic would hijack the green energy agenda that we constantly demand.”

Susanne Wong, Oil Change International says, “Japan’s promotion of hydrogen and ammonia co-firing and LNG in Asia to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is incredibly misleading. While countries in the region face diverse economic and geographical circumstances, what’s needed to reach the Paris Agreement goals remains universal – we must end our reliance on dirty, risky fossil fuels. Japan must stop selling false solutions and shift its annual 11 billion USD of public finance for fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

We protest against Japan’s GX strategy that promotes false solutions such as fossil hydrogen, ammonia or gas and we demand the Japanese government that they should provide support based on community needs and that are truly sustainable.