Proposal aims to add flexibility to Japan’s ethanol target

By Erin Voegele | June 23, 2020

The Japanese government has opened a public comment period on a proposal that will affect Japan’s policy on transportation biofuels by increasing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission value for gasoline and expanding the list of conditions under which an unfulfilled ethanol target can be carried into the following fiscal year.

A report filed with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network indicates Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry issued a proposal on June 16 that would increase the GHG emission value for gasoline to 88.74 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule (g-CO2eq/MJ), up from 84.11 g-CO2eq/MJ. According to the report, the revised value is below the comparable U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard and the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), which set gasoline GHG emission values at 93.1 g-COeq/MJ and 93.3 g-CO2eq/MJ, respectively. The report states the revised values will inform Japan’s approach to reduce GHG emissions associated with fuel combustion.

The proposal also aims to add more flexibility to how Japan meets its ethanol target. Under current regulations, Japan can only carry over the unfulfilled volume of its ethanol target into the next fiscal year if unusual weather or natural disaster cause a shortage of ethanol. In light of COVID-19 and other supply chain issues, the government is proposing to expand the list of conditions under which a carry over is allowed to include facility accidents or gasoline demand shock.

A public comment period is open through July 15. Additional information on how to file comments is available in the report, titled “Japan Invites Comments on Revised Carbon Intensity Value for Gasoline," which can be downloaded from the USDA FAS GAIN website.