• Politics & Government

Japan, U.S. to work together for decarbonization in emerging nations

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
Model of LNG tanker is seen in front of the U.S. flag in this illustration taken May 19, 2022.

Japan and the United States are expected to agree to strengthen a partnership for developing energy infrastructure in emerging economies to promote decarbonization, sources said.

The agreement will be stipulated in a joint statement to be released after a summit meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on April 16.

The agreement would strengthen the Japan-United States Strategic Energy Partnership (JUSEP), which is an energy cooperation framework that was agreed on in November 2017 by then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and then President Donald Trump. In an effort to boost exports of shale gas from the United States, which Trump emphasized, the two government have promoted building bases to store liquefied natural gas (LNG) in emerging economies.

Shale gas is said to emit lower amounts of greenhouse gases than coal or oil when used as fuel for power generation. However, some chemicals used in the fluids for drilling are feared to pollute the environment.

With the climate control-oriented Biden administration taking a negative stance on expanding shale gas extraction, the JUSEP will shift the focus from the existing major policy of expanding shale gas use to the use of clean energy, such as solar and wind power, as well as thermal power plants that can collect and store carbon dioxide.

Japan will provide technology for renewable energy facilities and also provide financial assistance from government-affiliated financial institutions. The move could expand business opportunities for related industries.

As for energy infrastructure in emerging economies, China is exporting coal-fired thermal power generation and other products through its Belt and Road Initiative to create a huge economic bloc. By strengthening their cooperation, Japan and the U.S. are trying to reduce China’s influence in that regard.