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. 

Tokyo Seeks Startups to Reduce Food Waste in the Dining Industry
Starting May 15, Tokyo is inviting startups to propose methods for collecting and analyzing data on food waste in the dining industry, as well as predicting and measuring waste volumes. Applications are open until May 31.
This initiative specifically seeks proposals that include all of the following efforts:
•    Research on food waste reduction strategies in the dining industry.
•    Estimation and understanding of food waste volumes and trends in the dining industry through 2030.
The subsidy amount is up to 20 million yen per project, with approximately one project expected to be selected.
Tokyo aims to achieve zero food waste by 2050 and plans to halve the amount of food waste by 2030 from the 2000 level (approximately 760,000 tons). Currently, much of Tokyo's food waste originates from businesses, with the dining industry accounting for about 40% of the total. With the reclassification of COVID-19 to a lower threat level, an increase in food waste due to the recovery of the dining industry's demand is anticipated. Therefore, it is crucial to quickly understand the situation and implement effective measures.
Tokyo metropolitan government (in Japanese):

Initiating Joint Examination of Domestic e-Methane Production at Oji Paper Tomakomai Mill
On May 9, Tokyo Gas (Minato-ku, Tokyo) and Tokyo Gas Engineering Solutions (TGES, same location) announced that they have agreed to start a joint examination with Oji Holdings (Chuo-ku) and Oji Paper (same location) on the production of e-methane at the Oji Paper Tomakomai Mill (Tomakomai City, Hokkaido). 
E-methane, which can be used as an alternative fuel to natural gas, is produced by synthesizing CO2 recovered from exhaust gases with green hydrogen (hydrogen generated by electrolysis using renewable energy-derived electricity). When burned, e-methane is a carbon-neutral energy source with net-zero CO2 emissions. The companies will jointly examine the production and utilization of domestically produced e-methane, synthesized from green hydrogen made with renewable energy from the Tomakomai Mill, and CO2 generated and recovered at the same mill. The renewable energy will be sourced from existing hydroelectric facilities owned by Oji Paper (Chitose No.1 Power Station, output 25,800 kW, among four other locations) and solar power facilities that are being considered for future installation. The CO2 will be separated and recovered as carbon-neutral CO2 from black liquor recovery boilers, which use "black liquor" by-product from the pulp manufacturing process as fuel.
Tokyo gas (in Japanese):

Formulation of the "Energy Conservation and Non-Fossil Energy Conversion Technology Strategy 2024"
The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization) have been formulating energy conservation technology strategies since 2007 as guidelines for the development, introduction, and dissemination of necessary energy-saving technologies.
In response to the global acceleration of decarbonization efforts towards achieving the 2050 carbon-neutral target, and in line with the decision document from last year’s COP28 to double the global average energy efficiency improvement rate by 2030, Japan recognizes the need for discontinuous technological innovation and social implementation through innovation, in addition to the energy-saving efforts accumulated thus far. Given this situation, we have now formulated the "Energy Conservation and Non-Fossil Energy Conversion Technology Strategy 2024." This strategy identifies key areas that need focused efforts to effectively promote the dissemination of technology development and specifies "important technologies" in concrete terms. This serves as a guideline for support through NEDO's grant projects and for planning and proposing R&D projects by companies and other entities, thereby promoting technology development and its practical application.
METI (in Japanese):

Honda and IBM sign Memorandum of Understanding to Explore Long-term Joint Research and Development of Semiconductor Chip and Software Technologies for Future Software-Defined Vehicles
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Honda) today announced that Honda and IBM have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining their intent to collaborate on the long-term joint research and development of next-generation computing technologies*1 needed to overcome challenges related to processing capability, power consumption, and design complexity for the realization of the software-defined vehicles (SDV) of the future.
The application of intelligence/AI technologies is expected to accelerate widely in 2030 and beyond, creating new opportunities for the development of SDVs. Honda and IBM anticipate that SDVs will dramatically increase the design complexity, processing performance, and corresponding power consumption of semiconductors compared to conventional mobility products. In order to solve anticipated challenges and realize highly-competitive SDVs, it is critical to develop capabilities in the independent research and development of next-generation computing technologies. Based on this understanding, the two companies began considering long-term joint research and development opportunities.

Mitsui to invest in lithium-ion battery recycling plant in Japan
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Kenichi Hori) has agreed to set up a new joint venture for lithium-ion battery recycling with VOLTA INC. ("VOLTA", Head Office: Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, President: Kenta Imai) and Miracle Eternal PTE LTD. ("Miracle Eternal", Head Office: Singapore, Director: Hua Runjie).
J-Cycle Inc., the new joint venture company, was established in May 2024, and is expected to commence operations of a battery recycling plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan in September this year, after obtaining the necessary permits and approvals. J-Cycle Inc. plans to produce and sell black mass* from end-of-life batteries and battery production scrap by leveraging Mitsui's expertise in battery-related businesses, knowledge of battery recycling and its global network, VOLTA's management proficiency in battery recycling, and Miracle Eternal's procurement capabilities of raw material from overseas.

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