Japan pledged to offer support in finance, technology, and personal resources to help Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members decarbonize their economies, as reported by Reuters on March 4. Japanese Industry Minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura, announced the commitment at the first ministerial meeting of the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC), an alliance of 11 countries including Japan, Australia, and all ASEAN members except Myanmar. Nishimura stated that AZEC members would collaborate in renewable power, natural gas, hydrogen and ammonia, and other areas, calling on the alliance to provide financial support for decarbonization infrastructure and creation of clean energy supply chains.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida proposed the establishment of AZEC in a January 2022 policy speech, with an aim to advance the energy transition of Asia. As the chair of the Group of Seven nations (G7) this year, Japan will hold another AZEC ministerial meeting on climate, energy, and environment in Sapporo on April 15 and 16, ahead of the G7 summit in May. The recent AZEC meeting has prompted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Japan’s state-owned Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Indonesian national power firm PLN. Under the MOU, PLN would secure loans from NEXI to buy electricity from renewables producers and strengthen its grid, in a move to transition from coal-fired power to renewable energy.