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The EU-Japan Centre is pleased to start a new weekly service by publishing brief summary of the latest information from the Japanese governmental organizations & private companies/organizations. A couple of minutes reading to be informed about what is happening in Japan's policy, economy, EU-Japan relations, and innovation.

*Information is deemed correct at the time of release. 

747 organizations participate in GX League
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced on March 27 that 179 new organizations will join the GX League from FY 2024, bringing the total to 747 organizations. The GX League is a framework that drives green transformation centered on large companies, and as of 2023, 568 organizations are participating. Participating organizations have set their own greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2025 in addition to 2030, and are taking on the challenge of reducing them, as well as participating in emissions trading that is currently being implemented on a trial basis. They also actively discuss and make proposals regarding the creation of rules that would be difficult to tackle on an individual company basis, with regard to reducing emissions throughout the supply chain and introducing green products. By industry, a wide range of industries will newly participate from FY 2024, including the transportation sector such as aviation, railways, and land transportation, as well as semiconductor manufacturing, real estate, and information and communication industries. The GX League is a framework that covers over 50% of Japan's greenhouse gas emissions.

METI website (in Japanese):
https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2023/03/20240327003/20240327003.html

Next-generation fighter jets can now be exported to third countries
At a cabinet meeting on March 26, the government revised the operational guidelines for the Three Principles for Transfer of Defense Equipment in order to lift the ban on the export of the next-generation fighter aircraft jointly developed and produced by Japan, the UK, and Italy to third countries. The export destinations have been narrowed down to countries with which it has agreements for the transfer of defense equipment and technology. Until now, when finished defense equipment developed and produced internationally was exported from Japan, it was only allowed to be exported to development partner countries. The revised guideline has made it possible to export this to third countries. However, it made clear that the cabinet would decide on each individual project when it comes to actually exporting it. Also, this time the approval is limited to next-generation fighter jets. Additionally, requirements for export destinations for the next fighter jet were also written down. It was limited to countries that are signatories to international agreements requiring its use to be consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. In order to export other jointly developed defense equipment to a third country, it must be added to the operational guidelines after consultation with the ruling parties. Japan, the UK, and Italy will soon begin full-scale negotiations regarding the division of roles among companies. Britain and Italy were pressing Japan to make efforts to export to third countries.

METI website (in Japanese)
https://www.meti.go.jp/press/2023/03/20240326006/20240326006.html

Digital Agency will formulate data distribution guidelines this fall
On March 25, the Digital Agency announced the "International Data Governance Advisory Committee," was established which will serve as a forum for public-private discussions to create a common information infrastructure that promotes the international flow of corporate data. It will gather the leaders of companies representing each industry to accelerate the development of an environment that is lagging behind the United States and Europe. First, it will establish a system for each industry to share data based on common specifications within Japan. One of the foundations envisaged by the Digital Agency is a system for sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions and material procurement throughout the supply chain. From the perspective of economic security, there is also a growing need to understand the situation at suppliers. Once industry-specific data sharing methods are established, it will be easier to collaborate with similar frameworks that are taking precedence overseas. Europe is proceeding with an initiative called GAIA-X. In the United States, the giant IT (information technology) company GAFA is central to expanding data collection and analysis. Japan is lagging behind other countries in terms of domestic infrastructure development, and is aiming to catch up through public-private consultations.

Digital Agency website (in Japanese):
https://www.digital.go.jp/councils/global-data-governance-advisory/972b24ec-1b12-4695-be5d-c564e1f10ed1

A council on nuclear fusion with 50 companies launches 
The Cabinet Office announced on March 22 that it will launch an industry council in March with approximately 50 participating companies, aiming to realize fusion power generation. Research into nuclear fusion power generation is becoming more active, with startups appearing overseas aiming to realize it in the 2030s, and related companies in Japan are gathering to give momentum to development and market development. The name of the council is "Fusion Energy Industry Council (J-Fusion)." The number of member companies is approximately 50 as of December 2023, and recruitment of additional members will begin in April.

The chairman of the council was KYOTO FUSIONEERING, a startup that develops nuclear fusion-related equipment, and the vice chairman was 
Sumitomo Corporation and Helical Fusion. In addition to executives from companies involved in the production of fusion reactors such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and IHI, the company also includes Mitsui & Co. and NTT. The council will serve as a contact point for the private sector regarding the fusion industry, introducing advanced examples from Japan and abroad and matching companies with related companies.They will also make recommendations to the government regarding safety regulations and technology standardization aimed at realizing fusion power generation.

YouTube Government Online:
https://www.gov-online.go.jp/press_conferences/minister_of_state/202403/video-282333.html

JERA considers purchasing ammonia from Exxon
JERA, Japan's largest power generation company, announced on March 25 that it has begun considering purchasing ammonia from ExxonMobil in the US. From 2028 onwards, 500,000 tons will be purchased annually and mixed and burned at domestic coal-fired power plants. JERA plans to start commercial power generation in 2027-2028, using some ammonia to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during power generation. Exxon is developing a hydrogen and ammonia production base in Texas, with the aim of starting supply in 2028. It will produce 900,000 tons of hydrogen and more than 1 million tons of ammonia annually. JERA will also consider investing in Exxon's production project.

JERA website:
https://www.jera.co.jp/en/news/information/20240325_1852

NEC and Skyloom collaborate to develop 100Gbps space optical communication technology
NEC Corporation and Skyloom Global Corporation (Denver, Colorado, USA) announced on March 19 that they have agreed to jointly develop cutting-edge optical communication equipment for satellite networks. In recent years, with the spread and expansion of satellite constellations, demand for high-speed communications on low-orbit satellites is expected to increase rapidly. In particular, optical communications are attracting attention in inter-satellite communications because they enable high-speed, large-capacity communications and are easy to deal with, including measures against radio wave interference. Based on this technology, the two companies will jointly develop, test, and manufacture a 100 Gbps optical communication terminal (OCT), aiming for completion by the end of 2025.They plan to demonstrate the developed product in the space environment in 2026, and then offer it to the global market. Traditionally, radio waves have been the mainstream method of communication in space, but this collaboration will apply to space communication the optical communication technology cultivated in ground-based optical communication systems, which have rapidly developed since the mid-1980s.

NEC website:
https://www.nec.com/en/press/202403/global_20240319_01.html

JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation collaborates with Chevron subsidiary on CCS
JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation announced on March 19 that it will collaborate in carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage (CCS) with Chevron New Energies, a U.S. subsidiary of Chevron that engages in decarbonization-related businesses. JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation will collect and separate the CO2 emitted in Japan, transport it by sea, and Chevron will 
store it in Australia. Chevron is developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) off the coast of western Australia, and also storing CO2 in the surrounding area. In addition to cooperating in the formulation of international rules regarding CO2 transport, the two companies will also consider jointly developing CO2 storage facilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation website:
https://www.nex.jx-group.co.jp/english/newsrelease/upload_files/20240319EN.pdf
 

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