The industrial sector (secondary industry) accounts for around a quarter of Japan’s GDP and around 29% of total final energy consumption. Given the country’s low level of energy self-sufficiency (12.1% in 2019) and high level of fossil fuel use in industry (71%), this sector represents a challenge both in terms of decarbonisation and energy security.,,
Japan has made efforts to improve the energy efficiency of industry which has led to a relatively steady decrease in industrial energy consumption (25% decrease over the period 1990-2019). This decrease was primarily due to a reduction in oil use. The consumption of other fuels has remained fairly steady over the last three decades, however, natural gas consumption steadily increased up until 2007 before levelling out.
With the reduction of oil consumption has come a corresponding reduction in emissions. On average, emissions have decreased at an annual rate of 1% over the period 1990 to 2019. As part of its NDC, Japan has set a target of 38% GHG reductions for the industrial sector from 2013 levels by 2030.,
By comparison, the 1.5°C compatible pathways show, at the median, around a 3% annual emissions reduction out to 2025, increasing to around 6% afterwards and until 2040. Under the pathways, emissions from industrial energy demand would reach net zero between 2048 and 2050. Industrial process emissions would fall by around 50% from 2019 levels by 2030 and 75% by 2050.
The pathway to net zero emissions in this sector would necessitate an increase in the use of electricity, hydrogen, and biomass. The share of these energy sources in industrial final energy would increase from 39% in 2019 to 43-51% by 2030, and 65-95% by 2050. A renewable energy-based power sector would provide the majority of industrial final energy by around 2040.