How is Tokyo meeting the challenge of climate mitigation?

Seminar Paper, 2021

14 Pages, Grade: 1,7



Table of content:

1. Introduction

2. A Policy-Mix Approach to Tokyo’s Climate Mitigation
2.1 An overview of the Policy-Mix Framework
2.2 Elements
2.3. Policy Processes
2.4 Characteristics

3. A Policy-Mix Analysis of Tokyo’s Climate Mitigation
3.1 Elements
3.2 Policy Processes
3.3 Characteristics

4. Conclusion

1. Introduction

A red alert for our planet. That is what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the most recent UNFCC report on the updated climate action plans by 75 countries1. The goal of keeping global warming beneath 1.5°C would only be possible by reaching net zero emissions by 2050 while reducing the world’s population’s emission by 45% until 2030 compared to 20102. With the current efforts we may reach 0.5%3. With news like this emerging almost every other week, it may seem like the battle against climate change is already lost. The efforts taken by nation-states are evidently not enough to mitigate climate change effectively. This obviously raises the question what other actors can do to weaken climate change and reach the goal of net zero 2050. The most apparent group of actors that could make a difference are cities. Cities are home to a large part of the world’s population, over 70% of the population are expected to be living in cities by 20504. Being home to that amount of people also bundles their citizens emissions under one common administration. Therefore cities have a unique set of possibilities for fighting climate change, since the cities’ choices about their infrastructure largely influence their emissions and thus their toll on climate change5. This term paper shall deal with the efforts towards climate mitigation of the city of Tokyo. Tokyo, with a population of 13 million and annual greenhouse gas emissions of 66 million tons, is not only the largest city in Japan but also accounts for a large part of Japan’s yearly emissions6. In the first section, after shortly introducing the Policy-Mix Framework, the criteria for an analysis of Tokyo’s climate mitigation efforts will be explained, using a Policy-Mix approach. The criteria will be based on the instruments, the policy processes as well as the characteristics of the policy-mix. In the second section of the paper, this criteria will be used to analyse Tokyo’s efforts toward climate mitigation, using empirical data.

The analysis will be based on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Climate Change Strategy from 2007 and the Cap-and-Trade program from 2010. Finally, the results will be summed up in this papers conclusion which will also show what the world can learn from Tokyo’s efforts.

2. A Policy-Mix Approach to Tokyo’s climate mitigation

2.1 An overview of the Policy-Mix Framework

The policy-mix framework is generally defined by interactions between different policies and instruments, working towards a common goal over a timespan that allows the instruments and thus their interactions in the policy-mix to change and evolve7. A policy-mix can be divided into three parts: (I) elements, which include the policy-strategy and the instrument mix, (II) policy-processes, which decide on elements and influence the policy-mix’ characteristics, and finally (III) characteristics, which are expressed via the policy-mix’ defining features of consistency, coherence, credibility and comprehensiveness8.

2.2 Elements

The first of three aspects of the policy-mix is defined via the policy-strategy and the accompanying political instruments9. For the policy strategy, a goal and ways to reach this goal have to be defined10. Administration should thus also clearly define their means to reach this goal to guide following actions and decisions. The accompanying instruments are a set of tools for addressing the issue, which the goal is meant to fix11. The instruments are defined by their type, their design features as well as their interactions in the policy-mix12. Specifically, instrument types are formed by a combination of their (I) primary type, ranging from regulation, to economic instruments and information, as well as their (II) primary purpose, covering systemic, technology boosting and demand manipulating goals13. Instrument design features give insight on how an instrument may perform, which can be shown by strictness, flexibility, predictability, distinction, level of support and depth14. Finally, the instrument-mix is determined by core instruments and supplementary instruments interacting with each other15. Thus, it is crucial that interdependencies and interactions between instruments are clear while building towards a policy-mix approach. For example, less regulative instruments would be needed to reduce environmentally damaging consumer behaviour if economic instruments like taxes on certain goods were implemented.

2.3 Policy Processes

Taking a look at the development of policy strategies and the usage of policy instruments, the policy making process is defining, since it directs the elements of the policy-mix16. Here the analysis should focus on policy-learning as well as interacting elements in Tokyo’s policy processes.

2.4 Characteristics

Characteristics add an additional level for the analysis of a policy mix. Consistency describes how aligned the elements of the policy-mix are towards their common goal, depending on their synergies and the existence of contradictions, whereas Coherence analyses the policy processes in a similar way as consistency analyses elements, as in coherence analyses policy processes and their synergies and coordination towards their policy objective17. Credibility focuses on how believable it is that a policy­mix actually reaches its goals, while comprehensiveness is determined by the thoroughness and extensiveness of the elements as well as extensiveness in the processes’ decision-making18.

3. A Policy-Mix Analysis of Tokyo’s Climate Mitigation

3.1 Elements

Regarding a policy strategy, in 2007, Tokyo set itself a goal of reducing Tokyo’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% in comparison to the 2000 level by 202019. In the year 2000, Tokyo’s greenhouse gas emissions accumulated to a total of 61.78 million tons of CO220. To achieve this, Tokyo, firstly, wanted to implement technology facilitating mechanisms to maximize energy efficiency as well as reduce CO2 emissions, while also helping private households and businesses by providing new technologies and information21. Furthermore, Tokyo planned on increasing it’s share in renewable energies and using private and public shares as well as using tax incentives to cover the costs of the necessary investments22. Moreover, the strategy included cooperation between Tokyo and other local governments in the Tokyo metropolitan area and all around the world23. Additionally, in 2010, Tokyo implemented it’s Cap-and-Trade Program, an emissions trading system (ETS) focusing on reducing emissions from the large-scale industrial sector with a mandatory reduction of emissions24. This program is split into two time periods, from 2010 to 2014 and 2015 to 2019, where businesses are supposed to reach at least a 6% reduction in the first, and a 17% reduction in the second period, relating to an average of three consecutive years’ emissions between 2002 and 2007 as base year25. If a facility exceeds it’s target, the surplus can be banked to relieve the facility from reduction obligations in the next period26. This gives the industry time for adapting to this program, while also giving incentives to reducing emissions early on, since the following reduction target is based on performance in the first period. In this ETS, credits can only be earned by actually reducing an actor’s emissions, thus speculations from the financial sector should not be possible27. The program also includes incentives for smaller businesses, residential and transport sector to reduce their emissions28. These combined policy strategies can be seen as both a rather clear and broad approach to the issue of climate mitigation, since firstly, the objective of the policy strategy is clearly defined by the 25% reduction target by 2020 and the reduction targets for the business sector, and secondly, the strategy plans on using a variety of measures, ranging from tax incentives to technology boosting policies, to achieve this goal. Also, the policy strategy’s objective is, since it’s revision in 2020, focusing on a long-term period, since the strategy set a new target with reductions by 30% compared to 2000, and working towards net zero emissions29. However, it appears as if the Tokyo administration does not want to address the problem with any kind of regulative measures for the public and instead based their strategy more on promoting climate friendly technologies, both in the economic sector of businesses and firms as well as the private sector of individual households. On the other hand, Japan and thus Tokyo are already home to advanced technologies in highly efficient energy systems and equipment, like highly efficient LEDs and an extremly modern transportation system30. Consequently, relying on further stimulation of these technologies seems reasonable, although purely relying on technology may not suffice, if business and consumer behaviour is not changed. The announcement by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government also includes five initiatives, five instruments. Additionally the Cap-and-Trade Program will be regarded as sixth instrument. These initiatives include (1) promoting firm’s efforts for emission reduction, (2) reducing emissions from housing, (3) establishing rule for emission reductions in urban development, (4) reducing emissions from transport and (5) implementing a government mechanism for promoting initiatives 1 to 4 and announcing an ETS, which resulted in the creation of the Cap-and-Trade program31. The programs together focus on almost the entirety of Tokyo’s emissions at the time, since as of 2006, 98% of Tokyo’s emissions are composed of residential, transport and industrial emissions, with the industrial emissions accounting for almost half of the total emissions32. Thus especially the Cap-and-Trade program is expected to reduce Tokyo’s emissions. Using the Cap-and-Trade program’s official base years for analysing progress, in the first period, most covered facilities reached their reduction goal, with some even exceeding the second periods goal33. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s data released in 2020, the covered sector had reduced it’s emissions by 27% on average, again exceeding the reduction goal of the second period34. Looking at the official numbers, the ETS seems like a huge success. However, one factor may make the numbers look better than they actually are. The ETS reduction system is based on the average of three consecutive years’ emissions and therefore gives facilities incentives to pick three years with a high emission average, making high reduction percentages easier35. Using 2009 as base-year, the numbers are lower but still meeting the targets, with reductions of about 13% in the first period36. Seeing the success of the Cap- and-Trade Program it is surprising to see, that overall Tokyo’s greenhouse gas emissions have not nearly met their goal from 2007. In 2020, Tokyo emitted a total of 66.08 million tons of CO237. This represents an increase in about 7% compared to emissions in 2000. This can mostly be explained by the growth of Tokyo’s population from 8.13 million38 to 13.64 million39, which represents a growth of about 67%. Tokyo’s population grew almost 10 times as much as it’s emissions. Additionally, after the Fukushima incident of March 2011, Tokyo switched from relying mostly on nuclear energy to using mostly fossil fuels and thus increasing it’s greenhouse gas emissions40. This leaves us with a development from about 7.59 tons of CO2 per capita to about 4.84 tons of CO2 per capita. Tokyo’s emissions per capita shrunk down to roughly 61% of it’s 2000 value. When regarding the population growth, the switch to fossil fuels and the emissions per capita, Tokyo’s policy strategy as well as the accompanying instruments seem to have worked, even though the initial target was not reached. Since only assumptions can be made about what could have been, the elements of Tokyo’s climate mix can be considered as successful, regarding the circumstances, though obviously, stricter measures could have led to an absolute reduction in emissions, eventually meeting the initial target.

3.2 Policy Processes

With Tokyo announcing a Climate Change Strategy in 2007, Tokyo’s recognition of the climate crisis falls between the first mentions of the importance of cities in fighting climate change in 1987’s Brundtland Report as well as 1992’s Rio Earth Summit and the most recent emphasis in 2016’s New Urban Agenda by the United Nations41. Tokyo’s problem identification of the climate crisis is thus neither specifically late, nor is it specifically early in regard to the long dominance of nation states in climate politics. Additionally, Tokyo joined 397 other cities in aiming for net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 in 2019s COP2542. Tokyo announced it’s Climate Strategy the same year it started implementing, as well as already revising it43. The ETS was implemented only three years later in 2010 as mandatory


1 McSweeney, E. & Ritchie, H. (2021). New climate pledges 'far short' of meeting Paris Agreement goals, UN warns.CNN.[Website] Retrieved From:

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 OECD (2014). Cities and Climate Change. p.4

5 Ibid.

6 Global Covenant of Mayors - City Dashboard Tokyo [Website] Retrieved From: on: 02.03.2021

7 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). Policy mixes for sustainability transitions: An extended concept and framework for analysis. Research Policy. 45. p.1621

8 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). pp.1623-1627

9 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1623

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1624-1625

13 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1624

14 Ibid.

15 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1625

16 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1625

17 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1626

18 Reichardt, K. & Rogge, K. (2016). p.1627

19 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2007). Tokyo Climate Change Strategy. p.1 Retrieved From: change.files/tokyo-climate-change- strategy 2007.6.1.pdf

20 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2010). Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program: Japan’s first mandatory emissions trading scheme. p.7 Retrieved From: and trade/index.files/Tokyo- cap and trade program-march 2010 T.pdf

21 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2007). pp.4-5

22 Ibid.

23 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2007). pp.21-22

24 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2010).pp.13-19

25 Arimura, T.H. & Abe, T. (2020). The impact of the Tokyo emissions trading scheme on office buildings: what factor contributed to the emission reduction?. Environ Econ Policy Stud. Retrieved From: 00271-w

26 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2010).p.12

27 Arimura, T.H.& Abe, T. (2020)

28 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2010).p.17

29 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2019). TMG finalizes the cap for Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program after 2020. p.1 Retrieved From: after2020.pdf

30 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2007).p.17

31 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2007). pp.7-19

32 Environmental Bureau. Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2010).

33 Arimura, T.H.& Abe, T. (2020).

34 Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2020). Results of Tokyo Cap-and-Trade Program in the 9th Fiscal Year. p.1 Retrieved From:

35 Arimura, T.H.& Abe, T. (2020).

36 Arimura, T.H.& Abe, T. (2020).

37 Global Covenant of Mayors - City Dashboard Tokyo (2021).

38 United Nations Statistic Division (2009). City population by sex, city and city type - Tokyo. UNdata. [Website] Retrieved From: %3a2000%3bsexCode %3a0&c=2,3,6,8,10,12,14,16,17,18&s=countryEnglishNameOrderBy:asc,refYear: desc,areaCode:asc&v=4

39 Global Covenant ofMayors - City Dashboard Tokyo (2021).

40 Arimura, T.H.& Abe, T. (2020).

41 Fuhr, H., Hickman, T. & Kern, K.(2017). The role of cities in multi-level climate governance: local climate policies and the 1.5C target. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 2018(30) p.1

42 Tokyo Metropolitan Government. (2019). Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy. p.12

43 Tokyo Metropolitan Government. (2007). p.23

Excerpt out of 14 pages


How is Tokyo meeting the challenge of climate mitigation?
Technical University of Munich
Climate Politics: International, National and Local Dimensions
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
Tokyo, Klimapolitik, Umwelt, Environment, Climate, Klimaschutz, Emission Trading, Japan
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2021, How is Tokyo meeting the challenge of climate mitigation?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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