Country: Japan

Document type: National Strategy and Roadmap

Strategic Energy Plan (July 2018 – provisional English translation)

Basic Strategy for Hydrogen Sciences (December 2017 – Japanese language)

Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (March 2019 – Japanese language)

Green Growth Strategy (December 2020 – Japanese language)

Basic Strategy for Hydrogen (June 2023 – Japanese language)

Summary Points:

Key policy documents

  • Japan has produced several documents of importance that have a significant bearing on hydrogen-related policies and initiatives, with the most recent release in June 2023 of the (revised) Basic Strategy for Hydrogen.
  • A key aspect of the 2017 ‘Basic Strategy for Hydrogen’ is the prioritisation in reducing the costs of hydrogen production (to enable large-scale, cost-competitive uptake of hydrogen):
    • The 2017 strategy has a target of reducing the cost of hydrogen production to US$3 per kilogram by 2030 and US$2 per kilogram by 2050 though the (later) Roadmap notes that a longer-term production cost of US$1.3 per kilogram is more consistent with imported LNG price projections.
    • In pursuit of this goal, emphasis is afforded to the building of international partnerships/large-scale hydrogen supply chains and, on the demand side, large-scale use of hydrogen in transport, power generation and industrial processes where electrification is difficult.
    • Hydrogen produced via fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS) is being pursued along with green hydrogen.
  • The ‘Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells’ contains a list of goals/targets (up to 2030) for a number of main parameters such as Use (e.g., mobility, power, industry, fuel cell), Supply Chain (e.g. green hydrogen, fossil fuel-based with CCS) and Societal (e.g., community acceptance). By way of example, selected mobility targets include:
    • 200,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2025, rising to 800,000 by 2030.
    • 320 hydrogen fuelling stations by 2025, rising to 900 by 2030.
    • 1,200 fuel cell buses by 2030.
  •  The ‘Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050’ includes five cross sectional policy tools (or support measures) and action plans for 14 sectors. Decarbonisation of both the electricity and non-electricity sectors includes the widespread use of hydrogen (and derivative) energy. In June 2021, METI announced an update to the ‘Green Growth Strategy’; the update follows the April 2021 announcement by the Japanese Prime Minister that Japan would target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% in 2030 from 2013 levels while continuing to take on a challenge to aim at the goal of cutting emissions by 50% (this compares with the previous target of reducing emissions by 26% over the same time period).
  • In June 2023, a revision to the basic strategy for hydrogen was released: English language media reports indicate the following key points included in the revision:
    • Plans to increase hydrogen supply from present levels of around 2 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes by 2040 (bisecting current targets of 3 million tonnes by 2030 and 20 million tonnes by 2050).
    • Plans to generate 15 trillion Yen (~US$110 billion) of public and private investment in the development of the country’s hydrogen supply chain over the next 15 years: media reports indicate public investment could be of the order of 6-8 trillion Yen.
    • Plans to establish five industrial clusters over the next ten years.
    • Plans to demonstrate up to 30% ammonia co-firing in a large gas turbine and 50% in a large coal turbine by 2030, as well as developing ‘mono-combustion technology’ in small gas turbines of 2MW or less.
    • A target of 15GW of electrolyser capacity installed globally by ‘Japanese affiliated’ companies.

Funding and other initiatives

  • In March 2021, METI released ‘The Basic Policies for the Project of the Green Innovation Fund’; the Fund was originally announced as part of a set of measures late in 2020 to support the net-zero by 2050 goal (with hydrogen energy, storage batteries and carbon recycling emphasised in the Prime Minister’s statement), is for an amount of 2 trillion Yen (then US$18 billion equivalent) over ten years, and was established as a supplemental budget to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO). In May 2021, it was reported that NEDO had released guidelines and started taking applications for hydrogen projects under two categories (applications closed on 1 July 2021):
    • Establishment of a large-scale hydrogen supply chain: Fund allocation of 270 billion Yen (then US$2.4 billion equivalent)
    • Generation of green hydrogen projects: Fund allocation of 70 billion Yen (then US$640 million equivalent)
    • An overview of the priority project fields or fund allocation policy of the Green Innovation Fund can be found on the relevant NEDO and METI websites.
  • In July 2021, METI released a draft updated Basic Energy Plan (the previous update being three years prior). English press reports indicate that the share of renewables in electricity generation by 2030 is targeted to rise to 36% to 38% (versus 22% to 24% included in the previous Plan and 18% in the fiscal year to March 2020) and that fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia would account for approximately 1% of total electricity generation.
  • In December 2022, the 5th Green Transformation (GX) Executive Meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s Office (the first being held in July 2022). In order to realize the full investment scope of the Transformation through the public and private sectors, the Government plans to implement upfront investment support of 20 trillion Yen (around US$145 billion). Promotion of hydrogen technologies is an important policy area of the Transformation. Press reports indicate that the Government plans to issue GX bonds worth around 20 trillion Yen from the latter half of fiscal year 2023.


Updated: June 2023