CoM Japan sees interest from Japanese cities rise

Since August 2018, the Covenant of Mayors Japan has been registering commitment letters by mayors, with 15 cities registered to date.

The Draft Implementation Guidelines for the Covenant of Mayors Japan have 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 1,700 municipalities as well as other key stakeholders.

The brochure contains messages from Mr. Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy, Mr. Masaharu Nakagawa, Japanese Minister for Environment, and prominent environmental leaders. These messages outline that committing to the Covenant of Mayors Japan is not only a way to take stronger climate and energy actions, but a means to improve national and regional economies.

Commitment letters have been received from cities including Otsu, Goto, Toyonaka and Mishima, the towns of Niseko and Yosano, and the village of Nanmoku. Otsu and Niseko were recorded as the first signatories, having submitted their commitment letters on the launch of the Covenant of Mayors Japan.

Otsu is situated on Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, and is famous for its community based environmental activities. Ms. Naomi Koshi, Mayor of Otsu, said she had been looking forward to the start of the Covenant of Mayors Japan as she wanted to join the Global Covenant of Mayors movement since learning about it a year ago.

Niseko Town in Hokkaido attracts many tourists, as it is a resort town with a hot spring and skiing opportunities. 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.

To encourage a greater number of cities to commit, the Covenant of Mayors Japan Office has started to hold regional seminars targeting municipalities and other stakeholders. The seminar for the Tokai region, the first of the series, was held in Nagoya on 27 August 2018 with the participation of around 70 people, including 30 municipal officials.

The seminar was opened with an address by Mr. Hideka Morimoto, the Administrative Vice-Minister for the Environment, followed by a keynote speech from Dr. Takao Kashiwagi on “Re-creation of a region by a decentralised energy system”.

Prof. Tsuneo Takeuchi of the Covenant of Mayors Japan Office presented the history, commitment and reporting framework and prospects of the covenant. Good practices related to the Covenant of Mayors Japan in the Tokai region were also presented.

An exchange of views and information was conducted on a variety of issues concerning the Covenant of Mayors objectives, implementation procedures, methodologies and the actions to be taken to achieve the goal of local energy production and consumption.

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