Mishap Over Use of Chinese Logo at REI Triggers Uproar

April 2, 2024|Geopolitics

A senior energy researcher has resigned from a government-appointed task force on Japan’s energy transition after the unauthorized use of a Chinese energy firm’s digital logo prompted questions over unfriendly foreign influence.

On March 27, Ohbayashi Mika, director of the Renewable Energy Institute (REI), a Tokyo think tank that promotes renewable energy, announced her resignation from the Cabinet Office-led panel that’s supervised by Minister for Digital Transformation Kono Taro.

Ohbayashi found herself in hot water after it emerged that during her digital presentation she somehow used documents with a watermark of the State Grid Corporation of China and subsequently reused the documents as REI’s template on numerous occasions. These documents were sent to government expert panels and bodies such as METI and the Financial Services Agency.

While REI is not an official advisory body under the Cabinet Office, its opinions and research may be taken as official advice that can influence the implementation of government energy policies.

The fact that Ohbayashi’s Chinese blunder went unnoticed for so long is rather disturbing. This has led many pundits and experts to question the competence of the national task force on Japan’s energy transition.

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