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.

Feline Generous: Japan Cat Lovers Give $2 Million to Kidney Research

Cats may have nine lives, but their time on Earth is often cut short by kidney problems — so people in Japan who want their feline friends to live longer have donated nearly $2 million to the search for a cure.

Thanaka: Myanmar’s Best Beauty Secret

Take a look into this ancient all-natural mysterious beauty gem

Delta Variant Drives Virus Spread to Three China Provinces

China Thursday reported small coronavirus outbreaks driven by the Delta variant in three provinces as a cluster linked to an eastern airport spreads despite mass testing and a vaccination drive.

Amitabh Bachchan to be the First Indian Celebrity to Lend His Voice to Amazon’s Alexa Assistant

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be the first Indian celebrity to lend his voice to Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant starting next year, as the Silicon Valley giant expands its presence in the massive market.

Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai Signs Apple TV Deal

Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize as a teenager after surviving a Taliban assassination attempt, has signed a deal with Apple TV+ that will see her produce dramas and documentaries that focus on women and children.

Virus-Hit Wuhan Waits for Barriers to Come Down

A network of makeshift barriers has kept residents walled in their neighborhoods for weeks in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan LGBT Activists Push for Legal Protection at Tokyo Protest

Activists staged a colorful protest in Tokyo on Sunday, calling on the Japanese parliament to approve an anti-discrimination bill protecting the rights of the country’s LGBT community.

Pandemic Triggering Orphan Crisis in India

Three days after their father died of coronavirus, six-year-old twins Tripti and Pari were found sleeping next to their mother, unaware that she had also become a victim.

Singapore Shuts Schools, Taiwan Bars Foreigners to Battle Outbreaks

Singapore will close schools from Wednesday as authorities warned new coronavirus strains such as the one first detected in India were affecting more children.

All Aboard! Next Stop Space…

Several hundred people have already booked their tickets and begun training for a spectacular voyage: a few minutes, or perhaps days, in the weightlessness of space.

Korean Women are Going Braless, and Maybe You Should Too

Going Braless has become a movement all over the world, and Kpop stars are leading the pack even if it causes an uproar. Does this movement really deserve to be the subject of controversies? Does this affect society’s perception of a woman?

Forgotten Australian History Showcased in Camel Adventure Pic

Australian director Roderick MacKay was blown away one day in 2014 viewing 19th century photographs of Muslim and Sikh men leading camels through his native country’s harsh desert outback.

On-the-Loose Tiger Captured alive after Indonesia Zoo Escape

An escaped tiger that killed a keeper at a zoo on Borneo island has been captured alive after a day on the loose, police said.

Mayweather Tokyo Exhibition Postponed over Virus Restrictions

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather’s exhibition fight in Tokyo this month has been postponed because of coronavirus restrictions, organisers announced Friday.

Beijing Set to Open Colossal Airport

China gears up for its new airport in Beijing, soon to be considered as of the busiest and biggest in the world when it opens in September

Thailand Arrests Two for Posting ‘Fake News’ on Coronavirus

Thai authorities arrested two people for posting “fake news” about the coronavirus as a senior official on Thursday warned internet users to think twice before sharing incorrect information about the pathogen.

Vietnam’s Pangolin Defender Wins Top Environmental Prize

A Vietnamese conservationist working to save pangolins from the devastating multi-billion-dollar wildlife trade won a prestigious award Tuesday for his role in rescuing over a thousand of one of the world’s most endangered creatures.

Forget Bollywood: Young Indians ‘TikTok’ Their way to Superstardom

He’s no Bollywood star, but school dropout Israil Ansari has found fast fame on TikTok with two million followers glued to his oddball dancing and rainbow hairstyles in India, the app’s biggest international market.

156lb of Waste Found in India’s Stray Cow’s Stomach

Indian vets have extracted 71 kilograms (156.5 pounds) of plastic, nails and other garbage from a pregnant cow, but both the animal and her baby died.

Taiwan Pleads with Citizens Not to Change Name to ‘Salmon’

A top Taiwanese official issued a plea on Thursday for people to stop changing their name to “salmon” after dozens made the unusual move to take advantage of a restaurant promotion.

Artists Cashing In on WeChat Sticker Craze

When “Silly Piggy” appeared in China’s popular WeChat social media app, the sticker became an instant hit, with people sending it more than 30 million times in its first month to express their feelings in text messages.

SSENSE Releases Luxury Fashion Line for Dogs

SSENSE is spoiling dogs with their new luxury line featuring some of the best names in fashion, from Burberry to Versace, they got our pups covered.

Is it Really Green? Japan’s Ambitious Hydrogen Project

Japan’s new 2050 deadline for carbon neutrality has thrown a spotlight on its efforts to find new, greener fuel options, including an ambitious but controversial liquid hydrogen venture.

‘Who Owns the Truth?’: Producer of Hong Kong Documentary of ‘Yuen Long Attack’ Arrested

A Hong Kong journalist was arrested Tuesday in a probe linked to a recent documentary she co-produced investigating an attack on democracy supporters by government loyalists, a move her employers described as “chilling”.

Hundreds Arrested after Postponed Hong Kong Elections

Nearly 300 people were arrested by Hong Kong police on Sunday as riot officers swooped on democracy protesters opposed to the postponement of local elections.

China Says Hungarian Politicians ‘Beneath Contempt’ for Renaming Streets

China on Thursday blasted Hungarian politicians as “beneath contempt” after Budapest renamed streets over human rights flashpoints from Hong Kong to Tibet in protest against a planned branch of a top Chinese university.

Frenchman Facing Death in Indonesia for Molesting Hundreds of Kids

A French retiree could face the death penalty in Indonesia on charges that he molested over 300 children and beat those who refused to have sex with him, authorities said Thursday.

Female Assassins Who Served as a Deadly Duo for the Taliban

Female assassins who lured an Afghan security official to his death with promises of sex before shooting him and dumping his body at a cemetery are among thousands of Taliban criminals freed as part of a fragile peace plan.

Backlash in Australia’s Byron Bay over Netflix Reality Show

Surfers in the coastal Australian town of Byron Bay staged a “paddle out” protest Tuesday as locals rally against a planned Netflix reality show some say could attract hordes of “vacuous” Instagram tourists to their beachside paradise.

In Japan, World’s Oldest Ironman Seeks Olympic Tips

Japan’s Hiromu Inada is watching the Tokyo Olympics hoping to pick up some tips from the athletes before he competes in next year’s Ironman world championship, at the age of 90.

Why Is Taiwan Not Called Taiwan at the Olympics?

Taiwan’s star weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun won gold at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, but when she ascended the podium to receive her medal there was no national flag and no national anthem to greet her.

Myanmar Youth Fight Internet Outages with Underground Newsletter

Myanmar youth are fighting the junta’s internet shutdown and information suppression with an explosive underground printed newsletter they are secretly distributing across communities.

BTS Hit ‘Dynamite’ Worth $1.4 Billion to South Korea

K-pop sensation BTS’s US-chart-topping single “Dynamite” could generate more than $1.4 billion for the South Korean economy and thousands of new jobs in the country, a government study claimed Monday.

China’s Mentally Ill Yearn to Step from the Shadows

For years, Shanghai artist “Cracks” has kept her diagnosis of bipolar disorder hidden from all but her closest friends and family because of a Chinese cultural stigma surrounding mental illness.

Which Asian Films Will Win in the Next Oscars?

Around 25 films have been selected by the 5th annual Asian World Film Festival to qualify for the Best International Film competition at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Get to know some of these films below.

Hong Kong Businesses Scramble to Comply ‘Made in China’ Label

At the Koon Chun Sauce Factory workers are scrambling to cover hundreds of thousands of bottles with new “Made in China” labels as the popular Hong Kong brand falls victim to spiralling diplomatic tensions.

The Eerie Hanging Coffins of Sagada, Philippines

In the Philippines, hundreds of coffins dangle from towering cliffs

Software Giant to Build World’s Tallest ‘Hybrid Timber’ Tower

Global software giant Atlassian will build the world’s tallest “hybrid timber” building for its new headquarters in Sydney, the company said Thursday.

Olympic Robot Mascots Debut in Tokyo

Robot versions of Japan’s Olympic and Paralympic mascots thrilled hundreds of school children in Tokyo on Monday, striking sporting poses and displaying hearts in their electronic eyes.

China’s Billionaires Club Swells as Market Rally Offsets Virus Pain

More than 200 billionaires were created in China last year as booming stock markets and a flood of new listings offset the ravages of the virus pandemic, according to a global tally released Tuesday.

Hong Kong Police Charge Four Former Apple Daily Staff under Security Law

Hong Kong’s national security police charged four former senior staff of shuttered pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily late Wednesday night.

Indonesia: Kids Given Baby Chicks to Wean Off Smartphones

Officials in one Indonesian city have hatched a plan to wean children off smartphones — by giving them their own fluffy chicks to raise.

‘Same-Sex Marriage’ Among the Top Suggestions Made by the Chinese Public to Lawmakers

Legalising same-sex marriage was among the top suggestions made by the Chinese public to lawmakers tasked with amending the civil code, a spokesperson for the top legislative body said.

China Accuses US of ‘Paranoid Delusion’ over Huge Innovation Bill

Beijing on Wednesday accused Washington of “paranoid delusion” after the US Senate passed a sweeping industrial policy bill aimed at countering the surging economic threat from China.

New Filipino Superhero Joins Marvel Comics

Fresh from the success of the theatrical release of “Captain Marvel” and just in time for the celebration of International Women’s Day, Marvel Comics is set to unveil a new female superhero from the Philippines.

Crazy Beauty Regimens from Asia

First it was snail mucus – and then things got even wilder

India Olympic Medalist Arrested over Murder of Fellow Athlete

Two-time Olympic wrestling medallist Sushil Kumar was arrested on Sunday, Indian police said, after a week-long manhunt over the alleged murder of a fellow athlete.

Dolphins, Turtles Killed by Fire-Ravaged Ship

Dozens of turtles and dolphins were killed by intense heat and chemical poisoning from a container ship that burned for almost two weeks off Sri Lanka, authorities said Thursday.

‘Starving’ Bangladesh Garment Workers Protest for Pay During Lockdown

Thousands of garment workers who produce items for top Western fast fashion brands protested against unpaid wages in Bangladesh’s streets Monday, saying they were more afraid of starving than contracting coronavirus.

The Essential List to Some of the Most Iconic Chinese Films to Watch

Whether you are studying its language, getting to know its culture, or just want to dive into Chinese cinema, these are some of the must-see films to check out.