While the U.S. government sits around shaming U.S.-based companies for not doing enough about (real or perceived) climate change threats, Japan appears to be in the midst of potentially making a dramatic shift in how it prioritizes its climate change goals.
In fact, this week it was reported that Japan was pushing to "remove a target for zero-emission vehicles from a G7 communique expected this week", according to Reuters who cited a proposed draft.
The Japanese reference that was removed was for a "collective goal of at least 50% zero-emission vehicles by 2030". It was replaced with the much less finite sounding target of "significantly increasing the sale, share and uptake of zero-emission light duty vehicles recognising the range of pathways that members are adopting to approach these goals".
The change would "water down" existing language on climate change, the report says, as the Japanese auto industry continues to face criticism from environmentalists who claim it is moving to slow to adopt zero emission vehicles.
Clearly feeling the crunch of a government-led forced change for the entire industry, the head of Toyota reportedly lobbied the Japanese government last week to make clear that it "supported hybrid vehicles as much as zero-emission battery electrics".
The country had also, separately, pushed for the removal of a requirement for all new car and van sales in G7 countries to be "zero emission vehicles" by 2035. The 2035 date was not included in the final statement, the report says, instead being replaced with the goal to achieve ""highly decarbonised road sector by 2030" by "significantly increasing" zero-emission vehicle sales.
Reuters reported that Japan had proposed the changes and it wasn't clear whether they would be in the statements released this week.