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How Japan will recycle its way out of COVID

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that the government will create a 2 trillion yen ($19.2 billion) fund to assist ambitious green projects over the next decade as part of additional stimulus measures in response to COVID-19.

Suga revealed the economic package during a news conference at the end of the Diet session, according to NikkeiAsia.

“Our country needs a source of growth post-coronavirus,” he said. “The core of that will be green and digital.” Suga committted to boost the economy through green investment and digital innovation.  He said that, the fund would “continue to support companies engaged in ambitious innovation [in environmental areas] for the next 10 years,” he pledged.

“We see hydrogen, of which there is inexhaustible deposits, as a new power source,” Suga said. “We will create hydrogen airplanes and hydrogen cargo ships.”

Low cost storage batteries

The government will promote the development of low-cost storage batteries that will be key to electric cars and renewable energy, as well as carbon-recycling technology to turn emitted greenhouse gases into plastics and fuel, he said. The economic measures are expected to be decided on by the cabinet next week.

To achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, Suga emphasized that he was “aiming for zero CO2 emissions from automobiles” and planned to “set systems and regulations to maximize the introduction of electric vehicles” to the Japanese market.

Addressing the 6G communications technology, Suga added that “the government will take the lead in research and development so that it can lead the world” in the new technology sector. He pledged to allocate more than 1 trillion yen for related investments, including the digitization of the government.

In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, he said his government “will secure a sufficient reserve fund to be able to respond to whatever happens.” Suga stressed this would “secure peace of mind for citizens and lay the foundation for future growth.”