Japan Seeks Dominance In Global Renewable Energy Race

Jul 6, 2019 | BIZ, GOV, Japan, NEWS, TECH

by Arvin Donguines

Okinawa, Japan – Tim Franklin Photography

by Arvin Donguines

Blessed with a variety of renewable resources like wind, solar, and marine, Japan is now looking to dominate the global renewable energy race. And it starts with an Olympic event.

Natural Endowment

Japan, the island country nestled off the eastern coast of the main Asian continent, isn’t exactly known for its natural resources. Despite sitting along the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, the Land of the Rising Sun could hardly supply its own need of raw materials like gold, copper and iron, from which they have to import from other countries.

Moreover, Japan produces negligible amount of energy like natural gas, oil, and coal. To keep its industries running and homes warm (so to speak), the country also has to import them. And the need is apparently that huge such that Japan is considered to be the sole largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal in the world. It is, meanwhile, the second-largest buyer of oil.

Japan did try to compensate for what it lacks with nuclear energy but harnessing such power has proven to be too dangerous that the government has to order the shutdown of its reactors in 2011. This situation further pushed Japan to rely more on fossil fuel.

But things are about to change as the country has finally recognized some of its untapped potentials to become a global leader in the use of renewable energy.

Carving A New Niche

Japan’s bold initiative for environmental protection has recently been making waves in the news. It has something to do with its plan to host the first Olympic Games that will be powered by renewable resources only.

In preparation for this global sporting event which will take place next year, Japan’s Olympic organizing committee laid out its strict sustainability code. This set of guidelines basically ensures that all products and services delivered during the Tokyo 2020 Games must come from recycled or reused materials.

For instance, the uniforms to be worn by athletes must be sourced from recycled fabric, an article said.

The place which will house the participants, the Olympic Village, is designed to be built with sustainability in mind. Each room will be powered with biogas and seawater heat pumps. The structure itself will be built using nationally-sourced timber.

These are just but some of the many sustainable plans Japan is hoping to accomplish in 2020 Olympics.

On the industrial side, Japan’s domestic industries are also answering to the country’s call for renewability. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, for example, is now developing systems like the hydrogen liquefier which the company plans to put into market by 2020, a report said. 

This system utilizes an equipment that is capable of liquefying hydrogen, which it does so my cooling the gas to minus 235 degrees Celsius. Some of its immediate application would be in powering up plants and charging fuel cells.

Hydrogen can be easily sourced as it is a common byproduct of certain chemical process abroad.

Japan, through Toyota Motor, meanwhile, has been working closely with Royal Dutch Shell, in carrying out the goals of the Hydrogen Council – a global initiative that seeks to adopt hydrogen energy.

Although the present technology plus the steep cost to carry out the plans are still hampering its development, both governing bodies believe that the first “hydrogen society” could be established as early as 2030.

A Perceived Opportunity

What was once an industrial, cultural, and economic center in Asia, Japan has found itself gradually slipping into the sidelines of the international geopolitical arena.

China, for example, is now going toe-to-toe against the US in terms of trade and commerce. South Korea, meanwhile, dominates the cultural sphere with its K-Pop and K-Dramas. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is even making huge impact in the geopolitical situation, not only in Asia but throughout the world.

Japan’s renewed fervour in implementing initiatives for the use of renewable and sustainable energy is perhaps the country’s way of taking a stab on the opportunity to forge a new geological path.

BTS Walks Louis Vuitton FW21 Show in Korea

It seems BTS did not only take k-pop by storm but also fashion. The K-pop group walked Louis Vuitton’s FW21 runway as their global ambassadors. The pop icons graced the show in a fashion film directed by Jeon Go-woon.

Pope Shares Solidarity with Myanmar Youth as Protesters Decorate Easter Eggs

Anti-coup demonstrators in Myanmar decorated boiled eggs on Sunday, as Pope Francis in his Easter message expressed solidarity with the country’s youth.

Delhi’s Female-Only Liquor Store Helps Women Buy Drinks in Good Spirits

Priya Sharma drove more than 30 kilometres to get to an exclusive boutique in a teeming New Delhi residential district — a women-only liquor store.

Japan Firm Offers Spouses Apartments to Avoid ‘Coronavirus Divorce’

Worried about a “coronavirus divorce”? An enterprising Japanese short-term rental firm is marketing its empty apartments as a way for stressed couples to get some time apart during the virus lockdown.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Kicks off Season 11 with Streaming and Drive-In Experience

Asian Pop-Up Cinema proves their strong dedication to movie buffs despite the pandemic by launching a new initiative for their 5th anniversary. The festival’s season 11 boasts a new way of showcasing their impressive 22-movie lineup.

Manure Hunt Underway after India Thieves Steal Cow Dung

A massive manhunt is underway in central India after a gang of robbers stole nearly a ton of cow dung from a village, police said.

Top Trending Foods in Asia in 2019

From nut milks to moringa, 2019 is chock full of exciting flavors for the true foodies of Asia.

China Watchdog Orders Ride-Hailing Service Didi off App Stores

China’s cyber watchdog on Sunday ordered ride-hailing service Didi be removed from app stores after investigations found its user data collection in “serious violation” of regulations.

Twitter Bans Bollywood Star for ‘Abusive Behavior’

Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut’s Twitter account was “permanently suspended” Tuesday for violating policies on hateful conduct and abusive behaviour, the social media giant said.

Farmers and Football: The Vietnamese Women Scoring Big on the Field

Legs stiff from long days in the rice terraces of northern Vietnam, scores of female farmers dressed in colorful cloth headbands and skirts gather on a gravel pitch for a game of football.

Chinese-Canadian Dubbed as Asia’s ‘El Chapo’ Arrested in Amsterdam

The alleged ringleader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been arrested in the Netherlands, with Australian authorities pushing Sunday for his extradition to face trial.

India’s Massive Kite Festival

Uttarayan is an annual International kite flying festival in Gujarat where giant kites shaped as mermaids, horses, and even footballs take over the sky

Social Media Fakes: Australia Bushfire Disinformation

Tiger burns in Australia’s bushfires? It’s a 2012 photo from Indonesia. Young girl rescues koala? Actually an artist’s impression. Social media is packed with powerful images of Australia’s bushfires — but many are fake.

China Limits Children’s Online Gaming to Three Hours a Week

China on Monday announced a drastic cut to children’s online gaming time to just three hours a week during term time, the latest move in a broad crackdown on tech giants in the world’s biggest gaming market.

India Backs Hydroxychloroquine for Virus Prevention

India’s top biomedical research body on Tuesday backed the use of the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine as a preventive against coronavirus, after the WHO suspended clinical trials of the drug over safety concerns.

The Hunt for Manny Pacquiao 2.0 in the Boxing Obsessed Philippines

In the boxing-obsessed Philippines, scores of young fighters dream of becoming the next Manny Pacquiao, but it takes a sharp eye and vast experience to pick out a potential world champion.

The Dark Side of Thailand: Part II

Beyond the Thailand’s necessary façade to make the country look more open and welcoming to the rest of the world are the cracks and crevices where the dark and unspoken aspects of Thai culture are largely hidden from view.

China Reports First Virus Death in Eight Months

China reported a death from Covid-19 on Thursday — its first in eight months — as the country battles to contain a resurgence in cases and prepares for the arrival of an expert team from the WHO.

India Records More than 45,000 Cases of ‘Black Fungus’

India recorded more than 45,000 cases of the deadly “black fungus” over the last two months, the health ministry said, as a nationwide outbreak sweeps through Covid-19 patients.

Digital Warfare: Myanmar’s Cyber Crackdown Explained

Myanmar’s military has imposed repeated internet blackouts, blocked some social media sites and drafted a cybersecurity bill as it attempts to grind down resistance to its takeover.

Patriot Games: Hong Kong Arts Scene Shudders as Loyalists Circle

After successfully muzzling Hong Kong’s democracy protests and opposition, Beijing’s loyalists are now taking aim at the arts as they seek to impose mainland-style orthodoxy on culture and purge the city of dissent.

Laos to Press Ahead with ‘Destructive’ New Dam on Mekong

Environmentalists have criticized Laos for pressing ahead with plans for another “destructive dam” on the Mekong River, a waterway already strangled by hydropower schemes.

Stinky Durians Spiked in Online Demand During Pandemic

When a coronavirus lockdown confined Malaysians to their homes, street traders selling durians moved their pungent produce online — and have been enjoying an unexpected spike in demand.

Christmas Celebrated Under Pandemic’s Shadow

Hundreds of millions across the world celebrated pared-down Christmas festivities on Friday due to coronavirus restrictions, as Pope Francis called for vaccines for everyone, describing them as “glimmers of hope in this period of darkness and uncertainty”.

The Scholar Speaking Out on China’s Crackdown on Intellectuals

In a small, book-strewn apartment in Beijing’s outskirts lives one of the last Chinese academics who refuses to be silenced by the ruling Communist Party’s relentless crackdown on intellectuals.

Italy Probes TikTok ‘Blackout Challenge’ Death of 10-Year-Old Girl

Italian prosecutors have opened a probe into the accidental death of a 10-year-old girl who allegedly took part in a “blackout challenge” on the video-sharing network TikTok.

Interesting Korean Superstitions You Should Know

Although it’s a progressive country, Koreans still believe in superstitions. Take a look at some interesting ones.

14 Million Tons of Microplastics Sitting on Seafloor

The world’s sea floor is littered with an estimated 14 million tons of microplastics, broken down from the masses of rubbish entering the oceans every year, according to Australia’s national science agency.

In Photos: The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2020

China’s annual ice festival in Harbin has kicked off with couples lining up for a snow-themed mass wedding, swimmers braving frigid waters and frozen palaces rising from the ground.

Bicycles, Mini-Cars, Protests: Climate Fears Mar Motor Show

Germany’s revamped IAA motor show opened to the public this week, with climate concerns drawing anti-car protesters but also forcing the world’s most prominent carmakers to showcase greener options.

Chinese Students Fleeing Virus Face Uneasy Reception Back Home

Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the coronavirus pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated.

Two Tigers Gunned Down in China’s Latest Escaped-Cat Blunder

Two escaped tigers killed their keeper in China and were shot dead, state media reported, in the latest incident underlining the country’s chaotic handling of dangerous animals.

Tech Giants to Donate COVID Vaccines to Taiwan in China Workaround

Taiwanese tech giants Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced Monday they will each donate five million coronavirus vaccine doses to the government in a deal with a China-based distributor.

K-Pop Idol Emerges From Decades Past

Thirty years ago his floppy hair, make-up, and flamboyant fashion sense outraged audiences, who threw stones at him as he performed on stage and threatened to beat him at shows.

K-Pop Star Jung Joon-young Convicted for Six Years for Gang Rape and Spycam

South Korean singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young was convicted Friday of gang rape and distributing videos of the assaults and other sexual encounters, and was jailed for six years in a scandal that has rocked K-pop.

Taiwan: Tens of Thousands Join Pokemon go Safari to Catch ’em all

Tens of thousands of Pokemon Go fans descended on a Taiwan park Thursday hoping to catch a rare “Heracross” and other elusive virtual creatures from the popular game.

Escape From Myanmar: How a Reporter Fled to Safety in Spain

It was only when he boarded the plane that would fly him to Europe that Mratt Kyaw Thu finally felt safe for the first time since Myanmar’s military coup on February 1.

China’s New Security Law Deemed as ‘The End of Hong Kong’

China’s parliament said it will introduce a proposal Friday for a national security law in Hong Kong at its annual session, in a move the US warned would “highly destabilizing” for the financial hub.

Wall of Sand Engulfs Chinese Town

A towering wall of sand rushed over factories and apartment blocks in northwestern China’s Gansu province as seasonal sandstorms barrelled across the country, causing air pollution and traffic accidents.

The Race for 5G In Asia

Unsurprisingly, the 5G race in Asia sees South Korea and China leading the pack for fifth-generation mobile interconnectivity.

Thailand’s ‘Bad Students’ Get an Education From the Streets

A mild-mannered teenage girl with owl glasses, a bob haircut and daisies painted on her fingernails is not your typical school troublemaker.

Hong Kong Tycoon Remains in Jail after Landmark Challenge to Security Law

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was ordered Monday to remain in jail while judges consider his fresh bail application, the first major legal challenge to a sweeping national security law Beijing imposed on the city last year.

Top Shopping Spots in Bangkok to Blow Your Money

Bangkok is known all over the world for its scenic temples, sumptuous food, and friendly people. it is also the hottest place for shopping spots ranging from Low end to luxury

Beautiful Asian Royals You Need to Follow

It turns out, Meghan Markle is not the only royal you should follow on Instagram. Get to know five well-accomplished Asian royals who stand out because of their public service and modern sensibilities.

Social Media Giants Grapple with Taliban Dilemma

The last time the Taliban were in power, social networks were a thing of the future — but this time around, the militants’ takeover of Afghanistan poses tricky questions for the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

As Thousands Flee Afghanistan, Some Refugees Want to Go Back

From trucks stuffed with carpets, bedding, clothes and even goats, around 200 Afghan refugees look beyond the horizon toward Spin Boldak in their country’s south, waiting to return home from Pakistan.

Light Up the Sky: A Personal Look at Blackpink

K-pop group Blackpink has always been viewed at a high pedestal. Surprisingly, group members Lisa, Rose, Jennie, and Jisoo get very candid and personal in their Netflix documentary as they talk about their training days and how they handle fame.

Facebook Halts Project for Undersea Data Cable to Hong Kong

Facebook has decided to halt its efforts to build a trans-Pacific undersea cable that would have connected California and Hong Kong, due to tensions between the United States and China.

China’s Environmental Data: The World’s Biggest Polluter in Numbers

US envoy John Kerry will visit China this week for climate change talks — the first official trip under the Biden administration — in a trip Washington hopes will put aside diplomatic spats and focus on joint environment challenges.

Indian Shooter Uses Apartment as Makeshift Range

Indian shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar stands poised behind blue tape stuck on the floor, aims and fires — across three rooms at a target hung up in an empty bedroom cupboard.

Jack Ma’s Rags to Riches Story Inspired a Generation of Entrepreneurs

Jack Ma, the ebullient and unconventional billionaire founder of tech giant Alibaba, now finds himself battling the ignominy of having the world’s biggest-ever IPO halted days before its launch by Chinese regulators.