U. K. Ambassador Sees Green Energy Potential in Japan

Courtesy of British Embassy in Tokyo
U.K. Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom

The United Kingdom and Japan in recent years have enhanced strategic coordination to deliver both economic growth and decarbonization based on their shared values of global prosperity and sustainability. Ahead of Tokyo GX Week — a program of international conferences on energy and the environment — starting on Sept. 25, British Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom made the following contribution to The Japan News.


As Japan’s Green Transformation (GX) week opens, let me share my vision for a green energy transition in Japan. I believe Japan can become a green energy superpower and support other countries to become clean, green and energy-secure.

Japan is blessed with a long coastline, deep seas and strong wind — a great combination for floating offshore wind power generation. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that Japan has the potential to meet nine times its projected energy demand from offshore wind alone. That would be enough to power everything in Japan and export excess energy to other countries as green hydrogen.

And it’s not just floating offshore wind. New technologies such as perovskite solar cells offer further opportunity for wide deployment, innovation and decarbonization.

In the U.K., we’ve seen the low-carbon sector grow faster than other sectors of the economy, and we have cut emissions faster than any other major economy. This has allowed flexibility in the approach the U.K. can take in reaching its domestic targets, as announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sept. 20. Our targets and commitments have not altered. We remain committed to net zero and the benefits it brings. Developing low-carbon energy doesn’t just reduce emissions; it can also grow new industries, revitalize regional communities and create jobs.

Just ahead of the Group of Seven summit in May, Sunak and his Japanese counterpart Prime Minister Fumio Kishida unveiled The Hiroshima Accord: An Enhanced U.K.-Japan Global Strategic Partnership. The accord outlines the breadth and strength of the U.K.-Japan relationship and the challenges we will address together, including climate change. On the same day, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the U.K.’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced a Renewable Energy Partnership to strengthen collaboration towards our shared commitment to boost energy security and accelerate the clean energy transition.

Japanese companies are already playing a major role in the U.K. on clean energy. Japanese investment and technology have helped the U.K. become a world leader in offshore wind. The U.K. is second only to China in offshore wind deployment — and Japan’s coastline is longer than the U.K.’s and China’s put together. Japanese companies developing offshore wind in the U.K. tell me they are eager to bring back their experience to Japan — and it’s great to see them doing so.

This summer has been record-breakingly hot. For me it has brought home the urgency of tackling climate change and changing the way we source our energy. Making a fast transition to clean energy like renewables and nuclear gives us the opportunity to fight climate change, boost economic growth and build energy security. Japan can become a green energy superpower, and lead others to scale up clean energy too.