Messages to the 3rd RD20 conference

Mr. HAGIUDA Koichi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

I wish to express my greetings. My name is HAGIUDA Koichi. I have been appointed Minister of Economy Trade and Industry on October 4th under the Kishida cabinet. As I have just assumed this position, I am unable to attend in person. Yet, I wish to offer some remarks. I am very pleased to note that as part of the Tokyo Beyond-Zero Week, the R20 Leaders Session is taking place. As you are well aware, Japan has declared a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. Japan will pursue this goal and in doing so will contribute to the realization of a global state of carbon neutrality. As we take on this challenge, it is crucial the nations are not bound by uniform approach but to pursue a pathway that addresses circumstances unique to each country and region. Numerous options must be available to track the path forward. The key is to generate innovation through research and development activities. It is necessary that these fruits of innovation will be shared across the world. As we build on this concept, the RD20 Leaders Session held today is meaningful and significant. International conferences held during Tokyo Beyond-Zero Week has been expanded from 6 last year to 8 this year. This is a sign of the extent to which Japan places emphasis on achieving carbon neutrality. Today’s session is attended by leaders of research institutions representing 20 major countries and regions. Discussions will evolve over means to further enhance international collaboration by stepping up mutual acceptances of young researchers and encouraging collaboration agreements among research institutions in our common endeavor to create innovation for decarbonization. Under the framework of RD20, I have been informed that new initiatives will be taken to advance specific international joint research projects. I strongly hope a progressive message will be communicated worldwide from here in Tokyo. I too will join you on the journey to achieve carbon neutrality. I am grateful for the tremendous contributions you have made thus far and wish you all the best in your future endeavors. I hope today’s session will deliver major outcomes. Thank you for your kind attention. October 8, 2021, HAGIUDA Koichi, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Mr. HIROSE Naoshi, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

My name is HIROSE Naoshi, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. I would like to congratulate everyone on the opening of the 3rd RD20 Leaders Meeting, and pay tribute to President ISHIMURA for his leadership. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the RD20 representatives who are participating in this event, despite the time difference. In the paradigm shift toward overcoming COVID-19, we are entering an era in which the response to climate change is no longer focused on constraints or costs, but new growth opportunities. In this critical moment, Japan would like to enhance global discussions in this field. Thus, we are holding the “Tokyo Beyond Zero Week” again this year. This is an initiative that involves a wide range of players, and aims to achieving carbon neutrality on a global scale, or even “Beyond-Zero” which means reducing CO2 emissions on a stock basis. As a part of the “Tokyo Beyond Zero Week”, the RD20 Leaders Meeting is an important place, where leaders of research institutes from G20 members get together, including 120,000 researchers in total. Climate change is a common, global challenge, and solutions will require the efforts of the entire world. I consider that three important points need to be taken into account. Firstly, “various pathways”. Each countries has its own pathway to achieving carbon neutrality: one that suits their energy situation and technological capabilities. Secondly, “innovation”. Technological innovations through research and development will be the key to exploring all types of energy and technology to advance energy transition. Thirdly, “engagement”. It is important to support emerging countries in their introduction of innovative technologies, so that they are not left behind in the transition to a low-carbon society. With these three points in mind, we need to find solutions for the difficult challenges presented by climate change, and create a new future. It is essential to bring together the wisdom of the world to create innovations to enable various transition towards decarbonization. Above all, the role of researchers who actually create innovative technologies is extremely important. The G20 countries account for 90% of the world’s GDP and 80% of CO2 emissions. It is clear that these G20 countries and their researchers should play a central role in the challenge of climate change. The efforts to promote energy conservation and to introduce renewable energy are extremely important. At the same time, there is no doubt that disruptive innovation is needed to solve the challenges facing the world today. We have 30 years until 2050, but it will take a certain amount of time for technology to be created, improved to reduce costs, and to become publicly implemented and widely used. With that in mind, effective methods of generating innovation are of utmost importance. It’s safe to say that this depends on the efforts of people here today. I hope that international cooperation between research institutes will be further strengthened through RD20. Japan is taking on the challenge of carbon neutrality. Last October, Japan declared the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. And this April, Japan announced that it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent in fiscal year 2030. This is a target which is aligned with the long-term goal of net-zero by 2050, while continuing strenuous efforts in its challenge to meet the lofty goal of cutting emissions by 50 percent. As concrete measures, The Government of Japan formulated the Green Growth Strategy last December, and it was further updated this June. Based on the strategy, all available policies will be directed to supporting these forward-looking challenges faced by companies, such as making bold investments to stimulate innovation. Also, Japan launched a new 2 trillion yen green innovation fund that will continuously support research, development and demonstration for the next 10 years. We have already started projects in the hydrogen sector, and we will continue to develop and start projects in other promising fields. Additionally, during Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan, as we aim to realize a decarbonized society, the venues of the Expo will become a “People’s Living Lab” for demonstrating new technologies. We will introduce Japan’s technology to the world, such as hydrogen, ammonia power generation, CO2 absorption concrete, and CO2 separation and recovery. Various efforts are being made in each country to achieve decarbonization. I hope that RD20 will sustain those efforts by promoting technological innovation, and pave pathways toward the realization of carbon neutrality and “Beyond Zero”. Thank you for your attention.

Mr. YANAGI Takashi, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), as the co-hosting government agency, would like to congratulate RD20, where top leaders from the world’s leading research institutes will discuss clean energy, in the midst of a severe situation around the world due to the raging new coronavirus infection. Achieving the 2050 carbon-neutral target is an urgent task that the world must tackle with all its might, and it is extremely important to promote basic and fundamental research to realize innovative decarbonization technologies. I hope that all of you, the representatives of each country, will take the opportunity of RD20 to unite and strengthen cooperation with various fields as the core of green innovation.

Mr. SHOUDA Yutaka, Vice-Minister for Global Environment of Ministry of the Environment

Bringing together a wide-range of expertise and technologies from all fields is crucial to meet the Paris Agreement objective of achieving global decarbonization as early as possible. Hydrogen and energy management system, to be discussed at RD20, along with building, electricity, and industry are some of the key sectors to achieve Japan’s 2050 goal for carbon neutrality. Discussions at this 3rd RD20 will provide an opportunity to expand research on clean energy technologies. I sincerely hope that it contributes to Japan’s push toward global decarbonization.