Environment and Climate Change Committee

Corrected oral evidence: Mobilising action on climate change and environment: behaviour change

Tuesday 1 February 2022

10 am

 

 

Watch the meeting

Members present: Baroness Parminter (The Chair); Baroness Boycott; Lord Browne of Ladyton; Lord Cameron of Dillington; Baroness Chalker of Wallasey; Lord Colgrain; Lord Grantchester; Lord Lilley; Lord Lucas; Baroness Northover; The Lord Bishop of Oxford; The Duke of Wellington; Lord Whitty; Baroness Young of Old Scone.

Evidence Session No. 6              Virtual Proceeding              Questions 42 - 48

 

 


 

 

I: Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo.
Witness


 

 

 

 


 

 

Yuriko Koike.


Examination of Witness


Q42 The Chair: Good morning and welcome to this session of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee inquiry into mobilising behaviour change for environmental and climate goals. This morning, we are delighted to have two esteemed witnesses to explore the issues with examples from outside the UK, from Japan and the Nordic countries. On our first panel, we look forward to hearing from the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike.

I remind colleagues, if they have any interests to declare, to please do so. The transcript will be taken and witnesses will be able to survey that before it is made public. The session is being webcast live and will be subsequently made available by the parliamentary website.

Good evening to you, Governor. We are most grateful to you for coming to us to talk to us today. I know that, before we put some questions to you, you would like to make an opening statement, so, please, we look forward to hearing from you.

Yuriko Koike: Thank you, Baroness Parminter and all the honourable members of the Environment and Climate Change Committee. I am the Koike Yuriko, Governor of Tokyo. Thank you for inviting me to this deliberation on behavioural change today. I was once Japan’s Environment Minister, which is when I began developing measures to protect the environment and address climate change. Later, I served as the Defence Minister to secure Japan and started to use the term “climate security” as part of the global security agenda.

Now, as the Governor of Tokyo, I continue to dedicate myself to these challenges. I am very honoured to have the opportunity to speak on such a valuable occasion. Currently, we are still battling Covid-19. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is taking proactive measures to protect the lives, health and social activities of Tokyo’s residents during these unprecedented times. Our highest priority is to save lives and prevent severe infections.

In addition to Covid-19, the climate crisis is posing a serious threat to humankind. The dynamic discussions at last November’s COP 26 spurred on the global movement towards decarbonisation. These discussions highlighted the importance of non-state actors, while also emphasising the role that the international community must play in pursuing the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris agreement.

I attended COP 9, 10 and 11 when I was Environment Minister, and I remember being asked about how Japan, as an advanced country, was handling the environmental issues. I hope that Tokyo, one of the largest cities in the world, will take the initiative in leading Japan and the world again. We have established a road map for achieving a carbon-free city by 2050 called Zero Emission Tokyo, which is part of our bid to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.


 

 

 

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is accelerating its actions to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, which is an important milestone for this objective. A tremendous amount of energy and resources are consumed in Tokyo, which is home to 14 million people and supports Japan’s social and economic activities. Buildings are responsible for 70% of Tokyo’s CO2 emissions. Therefore, sustainable building legislation is an essential element of our climate action plan.

Tokyo is in the process of deliberating on a new programme that will mandate the installation of solar-powered systems on designated new houses and other small to medium-sized buildings. We are also planning on strengthening and expanding the current stipulations of the Tokyo environmental ordinances, which includes the globally renowned Tokyo cap and trade programme, which was the world’s first urban emissions trading system.

Financial power is a crucial component of establishing a sustainable balance between the economy and the environment. We are prioritising initiatives for revitalising green finance, such as green bonds. It is now time to act. You can see the back board. We must accelerate global climate action now. It is imperative that we acknowledge the climate crisis we are facing and call for the collaboration of citizens, businesses and organisations, in order to effectively confront the impending climate crisis.

The firm actions, collaborations and partnerships of global entities are critical for achieving global change. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will contribute to the decarbonisation of the world, in close co-operation with C40 and other international networks. C40 means 40 cities, but it has been expanded to almost 100 today. The current leader of the C40 is the Mayor of London, by the way. Instead of returning to the status quo, we will promote a sustainable recovery as we continue to recuperate from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thank you again for your invitation to today’s discussions. I look forward to sharing my experience with you.

Q43 The Chair: Thank you very much for those opening remarks. That is extremely helpful. Perhaps I could ask you the first question that we have. Which of the initiatives that you have undertaken would you regard as being the most successful in enabling behaviour change for climate and environmental goals?

Yuriko Koike: Honourable Members, please allow me to respond to your questions in my mother tongue.

[Interpretation.] Thank you very much for the first question, which is about our successful examples of changing behaviour among people. We have a very famous concept called Cool Biz in Japan. That is one of the most successful examples that I can share with you. As you know, this calls for businesspeople to change their clothes or attire in summer to something more suitable for climate change. That became a very big


 

 

 

movement all over Japan and triggered the change of people’s mindset about their clothing in summer.

As you can see, in Japan, businessmen in general wear suits with ties. That is probably similar in your country and your city, London. However, I believe that the temperature in London in summer might be much cooler than Tokyo. Maybe you have some hot days because of climate change these days, but those business suits are not really suitable for the Asian summer climate. In order to be more comfortable, people in business suits have to reduce the temperature using air conditioning.

For some women in the office, they do not wear a suit, so the temperature of the office, which is more suitable for men in business suits, is a little too cold for women. They are suffering and feel like they are working in the refrigerator. I believe that that has to be changed. With climate change, it is important to improve the function of the air conditioning as well. However, it is very important to change the behaviour and mindset about summer clothes.

This concept of Cool Biz was adopted first by the then Prime Minister of Japan. He actually led by example. The first global leader who responded to our Cool Biz concept was the then Prime Minister of your country, Mr Blair. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation for your response to our Cool Biz concept.

Another example that I would like to share is the cap and trade scheme, the emissions trading system that I touched upon in my presentation. In Tokyo, as you know, we have a lot of tall buildings and skyscrapers, so the subject of this cap and trade scheme is the large-scale buildings and large-scale companies. We put the requirement to reduce CO2 emissions on those large-scale businesses. As part of that, we introduced the world’s first urban-based emissions trading system, or cap and trade system, in fiscal year 2010. Nine years later, in fiscal year 2019, we were able to reduce the emissions of CO2 by 27% compared to that base amount.

We share our know-how and knowledge about this ETS with the city of New York. As I said in my presentation, we are part of C40. This is the network in which the major cities of the world can share successful examples and ideas about climate change issues. It is very important for us to share that know-how with other cities.

Another example relates to our Japanese expression, “mottainai”. This can be translated as “too precious to waste”. We would like to teach this concept to the younger generation in Japan. We launched Team Mottainai to trigger behavioural change among people, so that we can change people’s consumption patterns and address the issues of food waste and energy conservation.

The Chair: Thank you very much for those examples of successful initiatives, which address the emissions from buildings and, equally importantly, the cultural shifts that are required to change the behaviours


 

 

 

of people.

Q44  The Lord Bishop of Oxford: Thank you very much, Governor. It has been inspiring to read about the Tokyo net-zero plans and the quality of your information and communication. The concept of mottainai that you were just talking about is intriguing. Could you talk to us about what you see as the key considerations in developing policy to enable this behaviour change for climate and environmental goals? If you are able to touch on how to connect different parts of your government together to bring that about, that would be really helpful to us.

Yuriko Koike: It is very important to use these concepts effectively and create consequences. When I think about and implement policy measures, I always prioritise three factors, which are actually the basic principles for Japanese martial arts, such as judo, kendo and karate. These are mind, skill and body. Body can be replaced with the system or institution.

In climate change issues, it is very important to change people’s spirit or mindset, so the mind part is very important and should be the first step. That is to change people’s mindset in their lifestyles and consumption. The second part is skill, for example a zero-emission vehicle or hydrogen energy. Those technologies are conducive to environmental benefit, so we have to develop and utilise them. That would feed into energy consumption, and change and improve the industries in Japan. The third part is body. That includes regulations, ordinances and budgeting. We have to work on those three, at the same time and comprehensively, to come up with a good result from our initiatives.

I served as Japan’s Minister for Environment and I find it very difficult to strike a good balance between the economy and the climate change challenges. If you try to tackle those issues as a national Government, sometimes it is very complicated and difficult, because of sectionalism. For those problems and challenges, we have to take the spirit of mind, skill and body logically and appeal to the people in Japan with those.

Sometimes it is very important to align national government policies with local government policies, such as those of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office. Sometimes we, as a local government, have to take more drastic measures than national Governments. Japan as a nation, or the national Government, has to manage from Hokkaido to Okinawa, where the climates are completely different. In those opportunities, Tokyo can be a leader by setting an example.

Q45 Baroness Young of Old Scone: Thank you, Governor Koike. I think the noble Lord the Bishop has stolen my question, so I am going to ask you a different one, which is on Team Mottainai. Could you tell us what sort of scale that behaviour change initiative now operates at? How many people and organisations have signed up? Where has it delivered results? Do you believe it to be effective, or is it a general awareness raising effort, rather than particularly targeted at making change?


 

 

 

Yuriko Koike: Regarding Team Mottainai1, when I was a Minister we launched the nationwide campaign. Currently, we are working on the Team Mottainai campaign in Tokyo. More than 1,000 individuals and companies have participated in this campaign. For example, those individuals and companies are working on improving awareness of food waste. Sometimes I go to one of the restaurants participating in this campaign to interview them about their efforts to deal with the food waste problems. Sometimes we enjoy a dinner from their menu, using the to-be-wasted food. Through media, we can disseminate those messages to the public in general.

An increasing number of companies are working on the issue of food waste, energy conservation or environmental issues in general from the perspective of good corporate governance. They take those issues very seriously. We sometimes award companies for good examples, in order to encourage those activities more and more in the future.

Regarding the climate change issues, all individuals and companies are the main actors, including the local municipalities. Therefore, it is very important to keep working to improve the awareness and mindset among people and organisations, with many different approaches.

Q46  Lord Whitty: I wonder how you deal with and what lessons you draw from challenges to this policy, from people who do not agree with the policy or whose economic self-interest or attachment to the old ways presents a difficulty for you. Do you have any lessons for us as to how you deal with that opposition? Also, how do you measure the success of your policies?

Yuriko Koike: Regarding the second question, how to evaluate the level of success of the approaches, that is left to the evaluation or judgment of the people in Tokyo and Japan, so all I can do is do my best.

Regarding the challenges and lessons that we learned from those initiatives, as I said before, it is very important but difficult to strike a good balance between economic and environmental issues. Companies like to improve their profits, but to reduce CO2 at the same time is sometimes very difficult. For those challenges, we can take advantage of the spirit that I mentioned: mind, skill and body.

The activities and behaviours of Japanese companies are very different compared to 10 years ago. That is because of the implementation of mind, skill and body principles and, at the same time, because of the reality that, unfortunately, we are suffering from a lot of disasters due to climate change. Many Japanese companies are introducing ESG concepts into their management. They now have a better understanding of the balance between their short-term profit as companies and the long-term societal mission that they should focus on.

 

 


1 Governor Koike later clarified that she was referring to the concept of Mottainai in this statement, rather than Team Mottainai.


 

 

 

In the Japanese economy, many companies are SMEs—small and medium-scale companies. How we can send messages to them is very important. We have to help them understand that responding to climate change challenges will lead to long-term profit for their businesses. For that purpose, we have to work on the mind, skill and body parts at the same time, so that many small companies can participate in those initiatives and we can take advantage of our technological edge. As you know, Japan is very well known for the high level of technology, so we can create new movements in our industries.

Q47 Baroness Northover: You have addressed some of the issues that I am about to raise, but I will probe further. I would like to ask you about how you have worked with local government, business and the third sector on enabling behaviour change for climate and environmental goals. In particular, if I can dig a little deeper, I am sure you are familiar with the term “greenwash”, something that is superficial but does not address the issue in any fundamental way. How do you seek and achieve deep change across those areas?

Yuriko Koike: For climate change responses, I believe that all individuals, companies, local governments and national Governments are actors. It is important for all of us to collaborate with each other and share know-how and technologies.

Regarding our partnerships, for example, we collaborate with advanced companies in Japan to create movement on these issues, try to innovate technologies and conduct POC projects. Another example is our collaboration with the beverage industry for the purpose of technological innovation, embodied in the Bottle-to-Bottle Tokyo project.

These days, we are focusing on hydrogen. With the hydrogen supplier, the fuel cell automobile maker and the hydrogen bus manufacturer, we launched a Tokyo hydrogen initiative. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is also supporting companies involved in the hydrogen business to expand hydrogen stations in Tokyo. On the issue of food waste, we collaborate with the food supply chains as well.

In relation to our collaboration with local municipalities, we have an initiative in Tokyo. As you know, we have so many small municipalities, including villages and towns, in Tokyo. There are 62 of them and we are providing support and assistance to those 62 local municipalities. For the municipalities that declare as a zero-carbon city, we provide further assistance.

In terms of the collaboration with overseas players, we are part of C40, which is an international network. The president of C40 is the Mayor of London. In C40, there are vice-presidents in each region. I serve as a vice-president for Asia.2 We share our knowledge and know-how about

 


2 Governor Koike later clarified that there are vice-chairs for each region rather than vice-presidents; that the Mayor of London is the chair of C40 rather than the president; and that she serves as a vice-chair for Asia, not a vice-president.


 

 

 

the cap and trade system with other cities. The major cities in the world suffer from common challenges, including water, waste and air pollution. It is very important for us to share our know-how and information with major cities in the world.

For our collaboration with the third sector, behind me there is a board with the “Time to Act” slogan. That is a slogan that we are working on as a climate change action movement, which originated from Tokyo. For this movement, in February last year, we held the kick-off meeting with the major global cities’ mayors, governors and experts in the field. There was participation by the heads of Paris and Los Angeles.

By coincidence, those cities are the venues for the summer Olympics, Tokyo first, followed by Paris and Los Angeles. For this kind of movement, it is very important to take advantage of this type of large international event. Also, we held a Time to Act climate action forum. In that forum, we tried to disseminate our messages about the actions to accelerate our goal of carbon half by 2030 in Tokyo. The UK ambassador to Japan, Ms Longbottom, participated in that forum.

The 2020 Olympics and Paralympics held in Tokyo was a really large event and a very good opportunity to send our messages to the world. For example, the beds used in the athletes’ village were made of cardboard, so that they could be recycled later. We tried to focus on the issue of food waste in the athletes’ village. Also, partially, in the Olympics training district, we used hydrogen. That was an optimal opportunity for us to show the appeal of our climate change-related initiatives and actions.

It is a little unfortunate for us that all those good efforts were partially offset by Covid-19-related issues, but it is very important to keep appealing and disseminating our messages to the world. I remember that, in the event in London, there was a kind of scheme where the Queen was actually launched by a rocket or something. Maybe in the near future those human rockets will be launched by hydrogen.

Regarding greenwashing, it is very important to be truthfully green, rather than just as a formality. Because there is an increasing awareness of greenness by consumers, companies are more serious about this issue. It is important for the media to play a role in that and for consumers to keep monitoring companies’ behaviour. Where greenwash is revealed, we believe that companies’ profits and interests will be lost eventually.

Q48 Lord Grantchester: You have spoken a lot about mind and body in your answers. I wanted to follow up on the technology side, through your mention of hydrogen development. To be fair, you have partially answered this question by saying that it has been interrupted by the pandemic. I wondered whether you could give us any more, behind that example of hydrogen, of where you are concentrating on what form of hydrogen and whether you see it making a breakthrough through transport or through the home, as two ways to see this development. What is the Japanese view of helping this develop?


 

 

 

Yuriko Koike: We believe that hydrogen is a very efficient tool to reduce GHG—greenhouse gases. However, hydrogen is still very expensive compared to gasoline, for example, and it is very expensive to operate hydrogen buses. We are still in the process of making hydrogen a stable source.

I talked about the utilisation of hydrogen in the Tokyo Olympic Games. We used hydrogen for the relay torch and flame cauldron for the Olympics. In the Paralympics, we made the flame in the cauldron purple, like the suit I am wearing today. That was possible because we used hydrogen, which can change colour. We changed it to purple, the identity colour for the Paralympics IPC, expressing the message that 15% of the global population have some form of physical disability.

For the 2020 event, we brought hydrogen generated using solar power in Fukushima to Tokyo for the Olympic Games. That is one way for us to send messages to other global cities that hydrogen would be a very useful tool for the future. Ultimately, hydrogen should be produced by renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. That type of network for hydrogen, which is very challenging to create, is the ultimate goal for us.

I heard recently that some oil producing countries try to change their crude oil into hydrogen before they export the energy to other countries. As you can see from those examples, I think that hydrogen will play more and more important roles in the future. It is imperative that we create policies conducive to the promotion of hydrogen.

The Chair: Thank you, Governor Koike, for those responses; to your interpreter for making them so clear to us; for the examples of what you are achieving on behaviour change for climate environmental goals; for your commitment, working through C40 and other initiatives, to share that globally; and, as part of that, for sharing your learning with us today. We really appreciate it. Thank you very much.