Japan aims to expand size of circular economy to 80 tril. yen by 2030

Japan aims to boost the size of its domestic circular economy, which focusses on reducing carbon emissions through reuse of products and resources, to 80 trillion yen ($583.7 billion) by 2030, government sources said.

The move to promote its circular economy, currently worth 50 trillion yen and intended to foster sustainable economic practices by reusing and recycling goods and materials, comes as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government is stepping up efforts to achieve a carbon neutral society by 2050.

Initiatives will include recycling raw materials and distributing used goods, which are intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a major culprit of global warming, the sources said.

New businesses emerging from the circular economy include apps where individuals can sell used goods and monthly subscription services for clothing rentals.

The Environment Ministry plans to request related costs in the government's initial budget for fiscal 2023, and the ministry will craft a timetable for the project in the near future.

According to the sources, the timetable will call for doubling the amount of recycling of waste electronic substrates and waste storage batteries -- parts contained in used small household appliances -- to use precious and rare metals sustainably.

Demand is surging for lithium and other rare metals necessary for batteries in electric vehicles as countries phase out gas-powered automobiles.

To this end, the ministry will seek to promote imports of waste home appliances from countries, including those in Southeast Asia, a region that lacks the technology to recycle products for rare metals and other resources.

The ministry's envisaged budget request also includes financial aid for capital spending by Japanese companies.

The timetable will spell out measures to deal with solar panels that are expected to reach the end of their lifespan in the late 2030s.

It will also call for establishing legal measures to promote reusing and recycling solar panels, which have come to cover large parts of Japan since the March 2011 earthquake that rocked northeastern Japan and the ensuing meltdown at a Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The ministry will seek to secure funds in the fiscal 2023 budget for substantiating recycling technology that would curb CO2 emissions.

Additionally, the timetable will include plans to review the mass production and consumption of clothing, as well as goals to promote reusing, repairing and other sustainable usages of garments.

© Kyodo News