The CoM Japan has started to receive commitment letters

On 1 August 2018 the Covenant of Mayors Japan (hereinafter CoMJ) started to register the commitment letters by mayors. The Draft Implementation Guidelines of CoMJ had been prepared and the website renewed. A brochure to explain the commitment procedures and the follow-up actions was distributed to 47 prefectures and about 1700 municipalities as well as other key stakeholders. and the start of registration was announced. The brochure contains the messages of Mr. Miguel Arias Cañete the EC commissioner on Climate Action & Energy, Mr. Masaharu Nakagawa, the Japanese Minister for Environment, and prominent environmental leaders underlining the role of CoMJ not only for taking stronger climate and energy actions but also for fostering national and regional economies.

As of 31 August, commitment letters were received from a total of seven municipalities: four cities (Otsu, Goto, Toyonaka and Mishima), two towns (Niseko and Yosano) and one village (Nanmoku). Among them Otsu City and Niseko Town were recorded as the first signatories which submitted the letter on the start day of CoMJ. Otsu is in front of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan with scenic beauties, and famous for its community based environmental activities. Ms. Naomi Koshi, Mayor of Otsu said she had been looking forward the start of CoMJ as she wanted to join GCoM club since she learned about it a year ago.  Niseko Town in Hokkaido is attracting many tourists even from abroad as a resort town with hot spring and skiing. Mr. Kenya Katayama, Mayor of Niseko and a member of COLGEI (Coalition of Local Government for Environment Initiative, Japan) is eager to protect Niseko’s natural environment which is crucially important for its sustainable development.

For encouraging greater number of cities to commit, the CoMJ Office started to hold a series of regional seminars targeting municipalities and other stakeholders. The seminar for Tokai region, the first of the series, was held in Nagoya on 27 August 2018 with participation of about 70 people including 30 municipal officials. The seminar took place with the opening address by Mr. Hideka Morimoto, the Administrative Vice-Minister for the Environment, followed by the keynote speech by Dr. Takao Kashiwagi on “Re-creation of a region by a decentralized energy system”. Prof. Tsuneo Takeuchi of CoMJ Office presented the history, commitment and reporting framework and prospects of CoMJ. Good practices related to CoMJ in Tokai region were reported by experts. Exchange of views and information was conducted on a variety of issues concerning the CoMJ objectives, implementation procedures, methodologies and the actions to be taken towards the goal of local energy production and consumption. The next seminar is scheduled in Kumamoto city on 13 September 2018 targeting municipalities in Kyusyu region.

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