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Japan

Japan is an archipelago country located in eastern Asia in the Pacific Ocean off the eastern coast of China, Russia and the Korean Peninsula. It is made up of four major islands and consists of more than 6,000 islets. 


Japan is the third largest economy in the world, excelling in the manufacture of high-tech products, including cars, electronics, and robotics, just to name a few. It is also known as a country with a long history and unique traditional culture, which is a part of the Japanese lifestyle today. 


For a long time, Japan had been closed to the outside world under the country policy (Sakoku) in order to strictly control foreign trade and influence. Japan opened up to western trade at the end of the 19th century. This would lead to its modernisation and economic progress throughout Japan called the Meiji era. 


Following this period, Japan declared war on China and Russia, and the victory gave Japan a foothold in new territories like Korea, Manchuria and Sakhalin. During the First World War, it took a position against Germany and conquered its Pacific islands. In the Second World War, Japan changed sides and was aligned with Nazi Germany.


The fight in the Pacific during the Second World War was a brutal and protracted one. For four years, the US and Japanese navies and air forces combatted for each island. On August 15, 1945, just a week after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (200,000 death in 4 days), Japan was the last country to surrender and put an end to the deadliest war of all times.


The country was administered by the US between 1945 and 1952. With a heavy investment plan like the Marshall Plan in Europe, Japan recovered at record speed and became the second largest economy in the 1980s. Japan has been able to maintain a balance between traditional elements of culture and a resolute modernity. In the span of 30 years, Japanese goods and cultural icons, from pokémons to CD players, have penetrated pop-culture and western households. 


Japan’s economy has slowed down after this 40-year-old boom, it remains the leader on more subjects than it can count, whilst conserving the millenary magic that makes the cherry trees blossom each year with the same beauty. 


TOTAL POPULATION

127.3 million YEAR 2014

CO2 EMISSIONS

1,214,000 kt COUNTRY, YEAR 2014

14,272,100 kt East Asia and Pacific, YEAR 2014

“A 26% reduction in emissions on 2013 levels by 2030.”

PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

JAPAN | ALL PROJECTS

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CLIMATE SIGNIFICANCE

Japan is part of the Pacific fire belt, a zone covering the land bordering the Pacific ocean that has exceptional geological and volcanic activity. Nippon is exposed to numerous and powerful natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, eruptions, typhoons and tornadoes. 

In 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northeastern Japan and a subsequent tsunami caused the meltdown of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. This is the single greatest nuclear catastrophe in the history of humanity. This position has strengthened the importance of coal in Japan’s energy mix. Today, coal plants provide one-third of the electricity on the archipelago. 

Japan spans 3,000 km from North to South. Its climate varies according to the latitude, elevation and exposition to the elements. This makes for an incredible variety of ecosystems. Mount Fuji’s sacred silhouette looms untouched for hundreds of years, whilst other places like Nara (the deer-city) or Okunoshima, the bunny paradise are full of life.  

Japan is possibly the country that has withstood the most natural disasters in its existence. It has developed in the process a very high savoir-faire in the fields of adaptation and prevention of risk. Modern skyscrapers are equipped with springs and hydraulic counterbalances, whilst the population is extremely educated in emergency response to these phenomena. 

Despite this experience, many observers have deemed Japan’s Paris targets insufficient to curb its own footprint and help others do better in the field of adaptation. It is also responsible for a large amount of e-waste and plastic based pollution, essentially due to its leadership in the tech industry. Japan is the fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter, and it has the potential to bring solutions to many of the tragic consequences of climate change. Gotta manage ‘em all!

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DATA INSIGHTS

The World Bank classifies Japan as a high-income country. To understand Japan’s position in the fight against climate change, it is useful to observe its history of carbon emissions and exposure to climate risk. The following plots provide an overview of Japan’s historic greenhouse gas emissions in perspective with global emission levels, as well as the country’s climate action and sustainability performance.


Japan Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Japan's timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the dotted line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the full line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


Between 1990 and 2000, Japan’s emissions increased by 8%, which is faster than the world’s average annual emissions growth of 6%. Despite moderate reductions in its emissions between 2000 and 2009, Japan’s emissions were back on the rise and surpassed 2012 level (increased by 13% from 1990 to 2012) 


The energy sector is responsible for the largest share (91%) of Japan’s emissions. This is primarily due to a high dependence on fossil fuel energy generation (accounting for over 90% of Japan’s energy supply in 2015). Deployment of nuclear technologies led to a stable GHG emissions trend and 2010, but after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, GHG emissions showed an increasing trend.


In 2012, Japan produced over 1,400 million tonnes of CO2 eq. GHG emissions. This is equivalent to the amount of CO2 being absorbed annually by 7 million km²  of forest (nearly three-quarters of the size of China). Being one of the world’s top ten GHG emitting countries, Japan has a tremendous opportunity to curb emissions (particularly in their energy sector) by transitioning into renewable technologies. (Source: WRI 2018; World Bank, 2018)


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Japan Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Japan's timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

graph

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the dotted line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the full line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


Between 1990 and 2000, Japan’s emissions increased by 8%, which is faster than the world’s average annual emissions growth of 6%. Despite moderate reductions in its emissions between 2000 and 2009, Japan’s emissions were back on the rise and surpassed 2012 level (increased by 13% from 1990 to 2012) 


The energy sector is responsible for the largest share (91%) of Japan’s emissions. This is primarily due to a high dependence on fossil fuel energy generation (accounting for over 90% of Japan’s energy supply in 2015). Deployment of nuclear technologies led to a stable GHG emissions trend and 2010, but after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, GHG emissions showed an increasing trend.


In 2012, Japan produced over 1,400 million tonnes of CO2 eq. GHG emissions. This is equivalent to the amount of CO2 being absorbed annually by 7 million km²  of forest (nearly three-quarters of the size of China). Being one of the world’s top ten GHG emitting countries, Japan has a tremendous opportunity to curb emissions (particularly in their energy sector) by transitioning into renewable technologies. (Source: WRI 2018; World Bank, 2018)


Japan Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI)

Japan’s performance on sustainable development

The SDG Index describes a country’s progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGI combines indicators of climate action with other socio-economic development measures that contextualise a country’s environmental performance with the rest of its challenges and reality. 


The global SDG Index score can be interpreted as the percentage of achievement of the goals


Each dot in the plot represents a country and its score (y-axis). Countries at the bottom score lower on the index as the countries at the top. Sweden currently scores the highest at 85 and the Central African Republic scores lowest at 38.


Japan’s score of 79 is among the best performing Asian countries towards achieving the SDGs. Despite being the front-runners in adopting the SDGs, Japan still falls short of addressing some aspects of sustainable development. This is mainly because Japan performs poorly on measures like reducing energy-related CO2 emissions, addressing fish population decrease and biodiversity loss, and changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. (Source: SDGI, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.


TAKE ACTION

Japan Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI)

Japan’s performance on sustainable development

graph

The SDG Index describes a country’s progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGI combines indicators of climate action with other socio-economic development measures that contextualise a country’s environmental performance with the rest of its challenges and reality. 


The global SDG Index score can be interpreted as the percentage of achievement of the goals


Each dot in the plot represents a country and its score (y-axis). Countries at the bottom score lower on the index as the countries at the top. Sweden currently scores the highest at 85 and the Central African Republic scores lowest at 38.


Japan’s score of 79 is among the best performing Asian countries towards achieving the SDGs. Despite being the front-runners in adopting the SDGs, Japan still falls short of addressing some aspects of sustainable development. This is mainly because Japan performs poorly on measures like reducing energy-related CO2 emissions, addressing fish population decrease and biodiversity loss, and changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. (Source: SDGI, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.


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