Japan to Host AZEC Summit; Fostering Stronger Ties with ASEAN for Decarbonization of Asia

The inaugural summit of the Asia Zero Emissions Community (AZEC) is set to take place on December 18th, marking a significant step in the push for decarbonization in Asia. The government is finalizing plans for regular annual ministerial meetings as part of this initiative.

This summit will see leaders confirming the establishment of a command post for decarbonization efforts and the formation of a committee comprising of experts. With China in mind, Japan aims to enhance cooperation on global warming countermeasures with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

AZEC serves as a framework for collaboration with other countries to achieve decarbonization and economic growth in Asia. Eleven countries, including Japan, Australia, and nine ASEAN member countries, are participating in this framework. The proposal for this initiative was put forth by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in his policy speech in January last year.

The AZEC summit will be held in Tokyo alongside the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit, commencing on December 16th. Kishida, along with leaders of the nine ASEAN countries, will be in attendance. Arrangements are being made for the Australian Prime Minister to participate online.

With Asian countries accounting for approximately 60% of the world’s CO2 emissions and many relying on coal for power generation, the need for decarbonization is pressing. Japan has faced criticism for its dependence on coal and aims to achieve both economic growth and decarbonization in Asia through its expertise in renewable energy, energy conservation, and technology for generating electricity without CO2 emissions.

Leaders at the summit are anticipated to agree on a roadmap for diverse and realistic decarbonization, tailored to the unique circumstances of each country. It is expected that a joint statement will be issued, and the establishment of the Asia Zero Emissions Center in Jakarta, Indonesia, as the command post for AZEC will be confirmed.

Additionally, a committee of experts will be formed to provide delegations and advice to support these efforts, with organizations like Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia being involved in its establishment.

As China continues to expand its presence in electric vehicles and solar power generation, Japan is looking to assume a leadership role in laying down fair and sustainable international standards and infrastructure development through AZEC.

The joint statement is also expected to highlight the significance of bio-derived biomass power generation and the use of small modular reactors as additional sources of energy. These reactors are considered to be safer than traditional nuclear power plants, and their inclusion comes amid the tense situations in Ukraine and the Middle East.


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