Japan is tackling climate change through both mitigation and adaptation: Japan commits to providing ODA to help partner countries adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects in its Development Cooperation Charter. This includes aligning Japan's development assistance with the goals of the Paris Agreement and contributing to both addressing developmental issues in developing countries and promoting measures against climate change. In addition, JICA’s Climate Cooperation Strategy, last updated in 2016, names four priority issues:
- Promoting low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure;
- Enhancing climate risk management;
- Supporting climate policy and institution building; and
- Enhancing forest and other ecosystem conservation and management.
The Suga and Kishida administrations have made new major commitments by making climate one of the four pillars of the Kishida administration's Growth Strategy. Specific development assistance policies for climate change adaptation are also included in the Basic Policies for the Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform, approved by the Cabinet every June.
In October 2021, the cabinet approved four strategies to address the climate crisis: an Adaptation Plan, the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures, the Paris Agreement strategy, and the Nationally Determined Contribution. The Japanese ODA charter has been revised to commit to providing ODA to help partner countries adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.
In 2021, Japan’s ODA targeting climate change as a principal or significant goal totaled US$9.5 billion, comprising 71% of bilateral allocable ODA.
Japan remained the highest DAC donor for climate-related ODA in both absolute and relative terms in 2021.
Japan’s ODA to climate increased by 136% in 2020 but decreased by 35% in 2021 to below 2018 levels. The sharp increase in 2020 is potentially linked to the end of Japan's "Actions for Cool Earth 2.0" commitment, which aimed to provide US$12.1 billion of public and private climate finance between 2014 and 2020.
The bulk of Japan’s climate-related ODA is directed to projects in infrastructure (32%), with the remaining funding directed towards health (14%), general budget support (13%), water and sanitation (12%), and energy (8%).
Japan spent US$5.5 billion of ODA on projects related to climate adaptation and US$4.3 billion on climate mitigation. Of these, US$213 million went to projects related to both adaptation and mitigation.
Between 2017 and 2021, Japan's bilateral ODA to climate adaptation increased by 19%, with a peak in 2020 mostly driven by significant funding across infrastructure and health sectors.
In 2021, adaptation-related ODA to health primarily focused on COVID-19 control, health policy and administrative management, and medical services, with adaptation as a secondary objective. Adaptation-related general budget support was mostly provided to Small Island Developing States. WASH received the largest share of Japan's principal adaptation-related ODA and focused on large water supply and sanitation systems. Under agriculture, Japan's spending prioritized rural development and agricultural development.
Japan’s multilateral climate funding is low. Not all of Japan’s contributions to multilaterals are considered ODA. This includes contributions to the following multilaterals:
Commitments made at international climate conferences and in multi-party agreements impact Japan’s climate-related ODA policies. At the G7 Cornwall Summit in June 2021, Japan committed to providing US$59 billion, or US$12 billion annually, in climate finance to LICs and MICs from public and private sources over 2021-2025. This is the same level as its previous commitment made through the Actions for Cool Earth 2.0 policy announced at COP21 in 2015.
At the COP26 summit in November 2021, Japan pledged an additional US$10 billion in climate finance, both public and private, bringing its total climate finance commitment to US$69 billion over the following five years. This includes a doubling of adaptation finance to US$14.8 billion to assist countries in adapting to climate change and preventing disasters.
In March 2022, Japan contributed US$42 million to UNDP’s Climate Promise Initiative to assist 23 countries in meeting the NDCs, making it the largest donor in the next phase of this initiative. NDCs are climate change mitigation plans that set out national strategies to achieve the global targets set out in the Paris Agreement. The funding will support countries across Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Japan has also established the Joint Crediting Mechanism, a bilateral offset mechanism that allows Japan to credit contributions of low-carbon technologies and expertise to low- and middle-income economies towards its own international emissions reduction commitments. Since establishing the JCM in 2011, Japan has signed agreements with 17 countries.
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