Soon after winning the Upper House election, Prime Minister Kishida began to forge ahead with his policies. Energy is one of the top priorities, and Kishida is already moving aggressively to implement significant changes that will cement Japan’s energy transition strategy through the end of this decade.
Like the U.S. and the Eurozone, Japan hopes to chart a path to decarbonization through large-scale, multi-year investments. On July 22, at a summer forum held by the country’s biggest business group, the Keidanren, Kishida announced his plan for a new ministerial post to “present a 10-year roadmap for decarbonization and increase corporate predictability,” while reiterating that Japan’s 2050 carbon neutrality goal “must be pursued”.
A new ministerial position for the green transformation (GX) was established, along with a so-called GX Council to report directly to the PM’s Office. Kishida also pledged that Japan “will prepare an unprecedented support framework that will catalyze long- term massive investment by the private sector”.
Five days later, on July 27, the current Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), Hagiuda Koichi, was tapped to simultaneously serve as the newly-created GX Minister. Whether Hagiuda remains in charge when Kishida names a new Cabinet, which is expected on Aug. 10, is unclear. Either way, the conflation of the METI and GX roles is revealing about the way Kishida wishes to proceed.