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On June 3, Japan and the European Union reached an agreement to collaborate on creating demand and supply for clean hydrogen. They also agreed to cooperate in advancing technologies to develop this new fuel. Japan views hydrogen as a cleaner alternative to liquefied natural gas. It is a crucial element in its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For Europe, hydrogen is a strategic option to phase out the use of Russian fossil fuels.

Kadri Simson, the European Commissioner for Energy, emphasized the importance of hydrogen. She stated that hydrogen will become an “internationally traded commodity” soon. An EU-Japan cooperation is crucial for promoting global, renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.

On Monday, Simson met with Ken Saito, Japan’s minister of economy, trade, and industry. Together, they chaired a Japan-EU hydrogen business forum, which included executives from JERA, Tokyo Gas, Mitsui, and Iwatani. The EU aims to produce 10 million metric tons and import another 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030. This goal is part of the bloc’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions, but achieving it requires significant investments in infrastructure to create demand for the new fuel.

Simson highlighted hydrogen’s importance to European energy policy, noting, “Hydrogen is a priority for European energy policy. It will help us eliminate the remaining Russian fossil fuels and, in the long term, decarbonize our industry.” Last week, Germany, a major buyer of Russian gas before the conflict in Ukraine, approved a bill to fast-track the construction of hydrogen infrastructure, as well as import and production facilities, to further reduce emissions.

Japan plans to invest 3 trillion yen ($19 billion) over the next 15 years to subsidize the production of clean hydrogen, according to Nikkei. Additionally, Itochu Corp, a Japanese trading house, announced on Monday that it is conducting a feasibility study for building a hydrogen and ammonia supply chain in Kitakyushu, southern Japan. This area is one of the future offshore wind hubs in the country. This strategic investment demonstrates Japan’s commitment to advancing hydrogen technology and infrastructure.

In summary, Japan and the EU’s collaboration on clean hydrogen marks a significant step towards a sustainable and low-carbon future. Their combined efforts will play a crucial role in the global transition to renewable energy sources.

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