Two years ago, METI set up a ¥2-trillion Green Innovation Fund (GIF) to support early-stage R&D to help Japan meet its 2050 net-zero ambitions. Now, that effort is getting a further boost with a new fund that will pool cash from the private sector with state support and direct them to regional projects.
In late 2022, the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) created its own green fund. Though much smaller than GIF, the Japan Green Investment Corp for Carbon Neutrality (JICN) will play an important though different role within the government’s net-zero strategy.
The focus on local activities is noteworthy. Most of GIF’s funds go to large companies, the bulk of which are headquartered in Tokyo. JICN’s activities will support local initiatives, empowering municipalities all over the country to find and fund carbon neutral projects. The fund’s work should dovetail with the MoE’s 100 Areas that Lead in Decarbonization, a kind of nationwide clean cities program.
The overall scope of JICN won’t just be limited to regional projects. Unlike METI’s focus on early-stage research, JICN will also support technologies that are close to reaching commercial reality. This will have tangible implications for the rollout of EV charging networks, the cleaning of supply chains and other decarbonization pathways.