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Research Areas & Themes ( 2019 ): Natural Resources, Energy & Environment

Research on innovation-based solutions to energy and global warming issues

Project Leader
Project Member(s)  ・ 
Research Objective Natural resources, energy and the environment remain key policy issues as the world faces major changes in the international situation concerning international energy supply and demand, and global warming. It is necessary to build a sustainable energy system that can support the future economy and society through innovation. This project studies recent developments of such issues in Japan and abroad, and examines approaches to promote long-term innovation and cope with global warming toward resolving issues such as energy market instability arising from changing international situations, structural changes in energy demand, global warming and other environmental constraints, and increase in energy demand due to the rapidly growing Asian economies.Natural resources, energy and the environment remain key policy issues as the world faces major changes in the international situation concerning international energy supply and demand, and global warming. It is necessary to build a sustainable energy system that can support the future economy and society through innovation. This project studies recent developments of such issues in Japan and abroad, and examines approaches to promote long-term innovation and cope with global warming toward resolving issues such as energy market instability arising from changing international situations, structural changes in energy demand, global warming and other environmental constraints, and increase in energy demand due to the rapidly growing Asian economies.
In order to promote evidence-based discussions, we will offer information to a broad range of stakeholders in Japan, thereby contributing to well-balanced policy formation.
Writing of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (scheduled to be published in July 2021) will start in 2019. Project Leader Sugiyama will take part in this activity as a coordinating lead author in charge of “Innovation and Technology.”
As a regional emphasis, we choose Asia, in particular China. We will examine how their innovation, energy and environmental measures develop over time.
Project Overview 1. Comprehensive understanding and development of strategies to solve energy and global warming problem based on accelerated innovation, with IPCC activities
We will attend IPCC and government committee meetings to exchange views and information with researchers and stakeholders. Focus will also be placed on the design of Japanese and international systems centering on the acceleration and promotion of innovation as a strategy to address integrated energy and climate change measures.
We will offer information on results of our studies widely using academic journals and conferences to promote evidence-based discussions in Japan, including publication of an enlightening book to be written jointly with key Japanese researchers.
2. Examinations and analysis of innovation, energy and environmental measures in China
We will examine and analyze the realities of innovation, energy and environmental measures of China, the most important player in the Asia region.
3. Study on the development and use of next-generation nuclear reactors
In relation to 1 and 2 above, we will organize lectures to be given by leading experts in Japan and abroad and share the latest trends within and outside the CIGS.
4. Energy and environment seminar
To examine issues such as evidence-based policymaking and social consensus formation that serves as the foundation for policymaking, we will invite young Japanese and foreign researchers, regardless of their field of study or position, to organize workshops and seminars regularly and continue discussions about innovations, energy and the environment from broad perspectives. This will help create an environment and provide an opportunity for researchers and policymakers to exchange opinions with each other, enhance their expertise, and gain inspiration for new ideas.
5. Energy workshop for researchers and policymakers
Through meetings, workshops and other events, we will exchange views with, and gather information from, researchers, policymakers, etc. from major Asian countries.

Legal analysis of the approaches to secure nuclear safety

Project Leader
Collaborator(s) Shinsuke TOYONAGA (Attorney at law)
Research Objective Today, there is a growing need for analyzing risks associated with the development of science and technology from legal perspectives (commonly known as “science, technology and law”), or for examining how science and technology will be broadly utilized in safe and efficient ways for society (commonly known as “science, technology and governance”).
However, few studies have focused on how the legal system should apply to the incorporation of science and technology into policies, and how the legal system should regulate risks associated with science and technology in a democratic society.
Such research covers a field of so-called regulatory science beyond traditional science and technology, and is also a field that is strongly expected to be analyzed legally.
Our research will also include the following viewpoints and legal systems: (i) to ensure stable investments in the nuclear industry; (ii) to promote technology innovation; (iii) to meet international trends such as public awareness and advancement of legislative technique; (iv) to define who is responsible by calling for national debates on the use of nuclear energy; (v) to ensure efficiency through standardization and certification; and (vi) to identify nuclear regulation laws as a part of the legal framework for economy and energy. This will allow us to perform highly applicable research that goes beyond nuclear energy.
Project Overview This year, the project will summarize the results of previous analysis of the relationship between nuclear power and the nuclear damage compensation system, and publish them as proposals for the coming amendment of law. Firstly, we will study in detail the three pillars of the interim summary of the amendment to the Act on Compensation for Nuclear Damage proposed by the national government: (i) tentative payment and advanced payment; (ii) effective dispute resolution proceeding; and (iii) special exceptions from extinctive prescription, and then study issues unaddressed in the amendment proposed by the national government. Secondly, we will evaluate the systems established after the incident in Fukushima (such as the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation and the ADR system). Thirdly, we will see through the peculiarity and universality of the nuclear projects and analyze points of view to apply results of previous studies to other areas. For clarity, we will publish our proposals on compensation for nuclear damage in Japanese and English to provide knowledge based on the incident in Fukushima globally.
To incorporate economic analysis and expert opinions effectively into our discussions and analyses, in addition to taking intrinsic legal issues into consideration, we will hold study meetings with technology and policy experts every month or two, semiannual study meetings with companies (e.g., reactor manufacturers), and workshops about every six months.
Various issues with risk assessments in the process of previous studies irreversibly arise when we apply results of nuclear power technology, as well as science and technology, to society. Such cross-sectional issues would possibly be studied as a "science, technology and law" or "science, technology and governance" issue.

Study on the sustainable comprehensive use of sea areas and Japan-China exchanges

Project Leader
Collaborator(s) Shigeru TABETA (Professor, The University of Tokyo)
Research Objective Academic research and political discussions in the marine field tend to focus on detrimental and other effects of climate change and adaptation measures. The use of marine resources that contribute to mitigating global warming, such as blue carbon and marine renewable energy, has been slow to progress due to economic constraints. Meanwhile, in addition to energy and global warming, water resources and food shortages are becoming recognized as future threats to sustainable human society. There is much potential in the role that marine development and use can play in resolving these issues, when land development is reaching its capacity.
This project will comprehensively evaluate an integrated energy and food production system in the ocean from technical, economic and environmental perspectives, and explore sustainable ocean development and use.
Marine issues have been negatively affecting Japan-China relations. By fostering discussions and exchanges between experts from both countries, the project aims to initiate cooperation on sustainable ocean development and use, and create shared benefits.
Project Overview 1. Conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the sustainability of the two existing types of comprehensive systems for exploitation of marine resources (i.e., remote island base and offshore floating system base)
2. Exchange between Japanese and Chinese experts
3. Present research results at academic conferences or in academic journals

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