SUSTAINING JAPAN Government Initiatives

SUSTAINING JAPAN Government Initiatives

Promotion of the SDGs due to pressing global challenges and a need for collaborative solutions

*The following is a summary article. Details on market trends and company case studies are provided in the full report, available free of charge from the download form at the bottom of this page.

After establishing the SDGs Promotion Headquarters in the Cabinet office in 2016, the Government of Japan set out an implementation framework and vision for realizing the UN-led goals.

The government's vision outlines a “2030 society where all people are liberated from fear and want, where freedom to live with dignity is ensured, where resilience, diversity, and tolerance are defended.” Further, it paints a picture of “a society which is environmentally friendly, rich and vibrant, without inequality, and where no one is left behind.”

In Japan, this vision focuses on eight priorities, which were formalized under the “SDGs Action Plan” of 2017. The priorities are clustered into the 5Ps set out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda: people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnerships. Taken together, they crystallize Japan’s model for realizing the SDGs, and pave a clear path forward.

According to the latest SDGs Action Plan 2022, there are over 500 government projects related to the eight priorities, and the budget for their realization is growing.

And that’s in addition to expanding the number of public-private partnership matches that connect local governments facing challenges with companies and organizations proposing solutions.

Figure: The Eight Priorities, 5Ps, related SDGs and major social issues in Japan

The goal for People is Infection Control and Building a Foundation for the Future. The first priority related to the People category is Realization of gender equality and a society where every person can plan an active role. The second priority related to the People category is Achievement of good health and longevity. The major social issues related to the People category are Gender inequality, Relative poverty, Educational opportunity disparity, Increase in social security costs, Shortage of medical and nursing personnel, Lack of access to medical and nursing care, Obstacles to healthy longevity, and Mental health damage. The goal for Prosperity is Virtuous Cycle of Growth and Distribution. The third priority related to the Prosperity category is Creating growth markets, revitalization of rural areas, and promoting science technology and innovation. The major social issues related to the Prosperity category are Low labor productivity, Digital divide, Structural transformation of the automotive industry, and Increased mobility challenges. The goal for Planet is Contributing to the Future of the Earth. The fourth priority related to the Planet category is Sustainable and resilient land use, promoting quality infrastructure. The fifth priority related to the Planet category is Energy conservation and renewable energy, disaster risk reduction and climate change countermeasures, sound material-cycle society. The sixth priority related to the Planet category is Conservation of biodiversity, forests, and oceans, and other environments. The major social issues related to the Planet category are Major natural disaster, Aging infrastructure, Climate change response, Food loss and waste, Marine plastic, and Cultivation abandonment. The goal for Peace is Compliance with Universal Values. The seventh priority related to the Peace category is Achieving peaceful, safe and secure societies. The goal for Partnership is Invoke the Power of Bonding. The eights priority related to the Partnership category is Strengthening the means and frameworks for the implementation of the SDGs.

(Source: Based on data from the Cabinet Office)

In addition, the SDGs Implementation Guidelines call for the promotion of Society 5.0. This concept is defined by the government as “a human-centered society that achieves both economic development and solutions to social issues through a system that highly integrates cyber space (virtual space) and physical space (real space).”

Society 5.0 aims to realize comfortable lifestyles while solving social issues by utilizing the latest technologies, products and services—and aligning them with Japan’s priorities and the SDGs. Stakeholders across society are developing collaborative strategies to realize Society 5.0, including the business and financial sector. Members of the academic community are also playing an important role.

For instance, the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), which represents businesses and related associations across the country, has developed a strategy document, called “Society 5.0 for SDGs,” which encourages industry to work collaboratively to realize these goals. The Keidanren also promotes collaboration with foreign companies.

But there is more. The rise of interest in Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) concepts led to a joint report in 2020 by the Keidanren, the University of Tokyo and the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), a government agency that manages the world’s largest pool of pensions.

Examining the nexus between Society 5.0 and ESG investing, the report outlines measures that are needed to improve the investment environment in Japan, including advancing the market for corporate venture capital and venture capital.

The report also suggests the need for increased funding for startups to encourage the entry of foreign firms and individuals into Japan.

In fact, the study projects the economic effects of realizing Society 5.0 and the SDGs, including expanding the Japanese market and GDP.

Market Report (full version)

Global entities find their footing in Japan’s market for SDGs

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    Government Initiatives

  3. 3.

    Addressing Challenges 1 People - Data healthcare to promote mental and physical wellbeing

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    Addressing Challenges 2 Prosperity - Implementation of new transit services to solve mobility challenges

  5. 5.

    Addressing Challenges 3 Planet - Next-generation technologies to mitigate natural disasters and aging infrastructure

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