Japan's Toxic Energy Strategy

Japan is driving the expansion of gas and other fossil fuel-based technologies across Asia and globally at a time when we must phase them out. This would worsen the climate and energy crises and block the transition to renewable energy.

Check out the full briefing on Japan’s Toxic Energy Strategy for Asia here.

©aotoro / pxhere

Japan should support renewable energy and stop financing volatile, dirty and unproven fossil fuel-based technologies.

Dirty Japanese Technologies

  1. LNG is dirty, expensive, and risky, producing heavy emissions throughout its lifecycle.
  2. Co-firing ammonia and hydrogen with fossil fuels at thermal power plants prolongs the use of coal and gas.
  3. Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is an expensive, unproven and unreliable technology.

What is wrong with Japan's "Green Transformation" policy?

Japan’s “Green Transformation” (GX) policy, approved by its Cabinet in February 2023, relies heavily on fossil fuels. The policy outlines how Japan intends to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and support the energy transition across Asia.

However, the GX policy is a greenwashing exercise made to benefit Japanese corporate interests. Japan’s strategy relies heavily on fossil fuel-based technologies, including liquefied natural gas (LNG); co-firing of ammonia at coal power plants; fossil hydrogen; and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). These technologies would prolong the use of fossil fuels at a time when renewable energy solutions are reliable, available, cleaner, and cheaper.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)



Between 2020 and 2022, Japan was the world’s largest provider of international public finance for gas, spending USD 4.3 billion on average each year.

Despite Japan’s claims, gas is dirty, producing heavy emissions throughout its lifecycle. Since methane is vented throughout the fuel’s supply chain and extra energy is needed to process it, gas can be just as polluting as coal.

Where companies drill and transport the fuel, they also wreak havoc on the environment and often the lives of local communities.

Ammonia and hydrogen co-firing with fossil fuels


Japan is investing heavily in technology to burn ammonia with coal and hydrogen with gas in fossil-fueled power plants. Co-firing would prolong the lifetime of thermal power plants.

Burning coal and ammonia in equal quantities – an impossible feat with today’s technology – would still emit about as much CO2 as a gas-fired combined cycle power station. The vast majority of ammonia and hydrogen is also produced from fossil fuels, which entails substantial emissions, including methane emissions vented throughout the lifecycle of gas.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)


CCUS is supposed to capture CO2 emitted from burning fossil fuels before it can enter the atmosphere. However, the majority of projects in operation worldwide have failed or are underperforming, often by significant margins. Current commercial CCUS facilities are capturing 3.5% of what’s required to meet net zero targets.

CCUS projects have so far been primarily used to extract more oil and gas out of the ground, generating more emissions and dirty profits for fossil fuel companies.

Voices of resistance: Philippines

The Batangas region in the Philippines is slated for a massive LNG buildout. This includes 8 new gas plants and 7 planned LNG terminals. This development threatens the Verde Island Passage in Batangas, a biodiversity hotspot that provides over two million people with food and other benefits. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation is a shareholder of AG&P, which is developing the Philippines’ first LNG import terminal in the region. In October 2022, local fishing communities and civil society groups filed a complaint before the Environmental Management Bureau against AG&P for its violation of environmental laws.

Voices of resistance: Bangladesh


The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is advising Bangladesh on the country’s energy and power sector master plan, promoting both LNG and ammonia co-firing.

As of December 2021, Bangladesh had 32 LNG-to-power projects with a capacity of 30.6 GW in the pipeline, 20 GW of which were in the Chattogram region. The companies involved in these projects are overwhelmingly Japanese, including Sumitomo Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, and JERA. In May 2022, climate activists in Chattogram took to the streets to pressure Japanese firms to end support for these projects.

Voices of resistance: Indonesia


JICA commissioned Japan’s biggest gas companies and utilities to develop Indonesia’s roadmap to decarbonize its power sector. This roadmap deems ammonia, hydrogen, and LNG (with carbon capture and storage) “desirable” as main fuels. It stresses the importance of securing technologies from Japanese corporations. In November 2022, Indonesian civil society groups urged Japan in a petition to stop prolonging the lifespan of fossil fuels and destroying the environment and livelihoods in Indonesia in the name of a “just energy transition.”

“The war in Ukraine has exposed the profound risks of our fossil fuel addiction. Today’s crises cannot be an excuse for backsliding or greenwashing. If anything, they are a reason for greater urgency, stronger action and effective accountability.”

(Spoken at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

“I don’t want LNG, because it destroys our fishing ground; I don’t want huge LNG tankers, because they will destroy Batangas Bay.”

Maximo Bayubay (Coalition of Fisherfolk Groups in Batangas, Philippines)


Japan: Stop derailing the energy transition in Asia and shift support to renewable energy.