Messages to the 2nd RD20 Conference

Mr. KAJIYAMA Hiroshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

I was very much looking forward to meeting the leaders of research institutes at the 2nd RD20. However, it is my great regret that, physically, we cannot welcome you to Tokyo due to COVID-19. This year’s RD20 is 100% online, and I would like to welcome all of you who have participated in this conference despite the time differences. I am also grateful for the hard work by our host, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), and other persons and organizations involved. We are at a very important time to contain COVID-19 and recover the economy. However, at the same time, we have to work on climate change issues for the mid- to long-term horizon. Although it is very complex and challenging, I personally think this is a very good opportunity for Japan to recover its economy as well as revitalize society. We can really accelerate our efforts on the issues related to climate change. We can play a leadership role towards decarbonization. We are currently working on “Beyond Zero.” We are even aiming to reduce CO2, which has increased since the industrial revolution. We will also be pursuing a virtuous cycle of environment and growth. To realize “Beyond Zero,” we have to work not just on technology, but on producing commercial products to really enhance technology usage in society. For example, both the technology to separate and collect CO2 and to create CO2-derived concrete products are already available. I think that how we integrate these technologies and create the market for them will be the key to enhance technology usage in society. Meanwhile, by grasping global trends, publicizing Japan’s endeavors, and so on, it is important to rase public awareness about climate change. For about a week starting October 7, we have set up “Tokyo Beyond Zero Week,” so that we can enhance and deepen discussions about energy and environment. We are holding six different conferences, including RD20, the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF), which has been discussing the “beyond zero” concept, and the TCFD (Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures) summit, which has been discussing fund mobilization for realizing innovation. We will also hold the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting, the International Conference on Carbon Recycling, and the LNG producer-consumer conference, in order to discuss hydrogen society, carbon recycling, and decarbonization of liquified natural gas (LNG), respectively. In the 2nd RD20, we have invited leaders from institutes with a total of around 120,000 researchers from 20 different countries, so this represents the intelligence and wisdom of the world. I am sure that this conference is going to accelerate innovation through the collaboration of those intelligence and wisdom. Just the other day, I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Yoshino, head of the AIST GZR (Global Zero Emission Research Center). He mentioned that, “We now have a good amount of environment related technological elements, and it is, therefore, essential to combine them with AI, 5G and IoT toward realizing a sustainable society. Combine the excellent research ideas that only 1 in 10,000 people can come up with, and you have a tremendously rare and unique idea.” It is important to keep creating those unique ideas toward finding solutions for climate change. We will be discussing this together and collaborating among researchers around the world using the network of institution leaders, and also through networking among the researchers themselves. I hope RD20 is going to enhance collaboration amongst ourselves.

Mr. MITANI Hidehiro, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), I would like to express how pleased I am to be able to co-host the RD20, where leaders from flagship research institutions around the world have discussions in the field of clean energy. As the world’s economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of a “Green Recovery” is gaining momentum, and it is becoming increasingly important to improve scientific knowledge, which will form the basis for discussions on tackling climate change. I hope that collaborations among research institutions will be further promoted to demonstrate the power of science to achieve sustainable societies, including developing both infection control and climate change countermeasures.

Mr. MIYAZAKI Masaru, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Environment

I would like to extend my greetings on the occasion of the 2nd RD20. RD20 was established as a Japanese initiative through the “G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth” in June last year. While the world economy is being hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Japan held an online ministerial meeting of the “Online Platform” on a Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19 this September. At this ministerial meeting, we discussed the technological innovations including zero-emission technology and major changes in lifestyle as necessary elements in redesigning our socio-economic systems. Japan emphasized in this meeting the efforts toward decarbonization, such as a drastic revision of its policy on export of coal-fired power plants and “zero-carbon cities.” Realization of a hydrogen society, floating offshore wind turbines, CCUS (Carbon dioxide Capture, Utilization and Storage), cellulose nanofibers (CNF) and gallium nitride (GaN) are some of the concrete examples of innovations in Japan. Also, as a direct response to the coronavirus pandemic, we will promote the realization of zero-emission data centers that responds to the increase in information communication volume and the shift to EV in the logistics field. We hope that this RD20 will help expand the cycle of producing innovation toward the vigorous recovery of the world economy.

Mr. ISHIMURA Kazuhiko, RD20 Chair (President of AIST)

Science and technology, which has developed along with us, has given rise to enumerable wealth and prosperity. Recent years have seen tremendous developments in the information field, such as AI, IoT and 5G. Through their integration, social infrastructures have become increasingly sophisticated. On the other hand, science and technology has also caused environmental issues such as global warming. To solve such large-scale and complex issues, international, interdisciplinary collaboration is imperative. Under these circumstances, “RD20:Research and Development 20 for clean energy technologies,” aimed at collaboration among G20 research institutions on clean energy technologies, was begun in 2019. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference this year will be held online. Regardless of how and where the conference is held, with a view to achieving sustainable recovery both during and after pandemic of COVID-19, expectations toward clean energy and the momentum for holding the conference are heightened more than before. Dr. YOSHINO Akira, Director of the Global Zero Emission Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST-GZR), and winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, opened up possibilities for resolving global issues through the development of the secondary lithium ion battery. He will be one of our key speakers in both the technical and leaders’ sessions this year. A Summary of opinions by each of the participating institutes will also be given. I hope that this year’s RD20, in conjunction with ICEF, the TCFD Summit, etc., will serve as an opportunity for furthering international collaboration toward resolving environmental issues. Finally, I would like to conclude by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the representatives of research institutions from G20 member countries, the speakers, and last, but not least, respective governments of G20 member countries for their support.