January 06, 2023

2023 notes from Shunichi Suzuki: Japan stepping up its efforts on energy, emissions, biodiversity

Shunichi Suzuki
Minister of state for financial services


I would like to offer my heartfelt New Year’s greetings to the readers of The Japan Times.

This year, Japan will serve as chair of the Group of Seven nations. This year’s summit will take place in Hiroshima, and it will be the first G7 summit to be held in a former site of an atomic bombing. I believe this will emphasize sending a message for peace that is stronger than ever as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

In order to properly lead discussions at the G7 as chair, I believe it is important for Japan to step up our initiatives on issues related to energy, decarbonization and biodiversity and at the same time let our efforts be known in Japan as well as abroad.

As government ministries and agencies work on making wide-ranging policy measures related to sustainable finance, I also believe it is very important for them to coordinate efforts to present a road map on the government’s overall sustainable finance initiatives, update it in a timely manner and make it known widely.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a dramatic change to the energy situation of the world. Even as global energy’s supply-demand structure undergoes major change, we are faced with the needs to both promote decarbonization and strengthen energy security. We in Japan now need to revise our decarbonization and energy policies. In order to overcome the current situation, and from a long-term perspective, we need to accelerate all the efforts to convert our socioeconomic and industrial structures to ones centered on clean energy.

In addition, in order to realize the “new capitalism” ideas advocated by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, an issue facing the public and private sectors this year is for each, playing their respective roles, to pursue a sustainable economy that creates a virtuous circle of growth and distribution and to also work to resolve social issues.

For our growth strategy, since we are facing the global trends of digitalization, climate change and economic insecurity, I think we must work on the issues that Japan must overcome in the new era in the spirit of making them into future growth areas so we can turn any weaknesses into the growth engines for the new era.

As one policy for realizing the new capitalism, the government has adopted a program to double people’s income from assets, part of its efforts to encourage a shift from savings to investments. The program requires improving people’s financial knowledge. Education on investing is a key issue. As it is important to help people acquire correct knowledge about corporate pensions and ESG investing from a long-term perspective and gain the ability to make correct decisions, we hope to offer classes and seminars and disseminate information, reaching as many interested people as possible.

This year again, we will remain committed to the revitalizing of the nation’s financial markets and working with market insiders both in Japan and overseas to promote not only financial education, but also sustainable finance, aiming to maintain a financial system that can be trusted by the Japanese people. I would appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

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