Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ)

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Tokyo, Japan

Climate Lobbying Overview: Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) has engaged negatively on several climate change and energy policies in Japan. PAJ appeared to advocate for a prolonged role for oil in the energy mix and to opposite carbon tax and ETS.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: PAJ appears to take negative positions in its top-line messaging on climate policy. In a Ministry of the Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) hearing in November 2021, PAJ appeared to support Japan’s net-zero targets to 2050. However, in the same month, PAJ stated that the Prime Minister’s declaration of carbon neutrality by 2050 was of “great concern, especially in the petroleum sales industry,” in a policy request to members of the Japanese Diet. In a press conference held in May 2022, Tsutomu Sugimori, chairman of PAJ stated that PAJ will "actively" make efforts toward carbon neutrality by 2050 but was ambiguous on whether he supported near term action to achieve this.

PAJ appears to hold negative positions on the need for policy to respond to climate change. In a press conference in January 2022, Sugimori appeared to emphasize economic considerations in responding to climate change, emphasizing the need for “carbon pricing that contributes to growth.” In a METI working group on resources and energy in December 2021, PAJ appeared to support government intervention in the form of fiscal support, but was unclear whether it supported a wider range of policy solutions.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: PAJ has engaged negatively on carbon tax and emissions trading policies, while showing mixed support for energy efficiency and GHG targets. In its policy request to the Japanese Diet in November 2021, PAJ strongly opposed the introduction of new carbon pricing policies, including carbon tax, and appeared to oppose GHG emissions targets, stating carbon-neutral targets in 2050 “have caused great concern, especially in the petroleum sales industry.”

PAJ Chairman Sugimori also opposed the implementation of a carbon tax in a press conference in December 2021. In February 2021, Sankei Article Online reported that in February 2021, Chairman Sugimori stated that carbon tax or emissions trading policies will not contribute to growth because it will make Japan, with its high energy costs, even less competitive.”

In a press release in May 2021, Chairman Sugimori did not advocate for a clear position on energy efficiency standards, targets, or legislation, just noting that “energy conservation and renewable energy will be the only realistic approach.”

Positioning on Energy Transition: PAJ appears to hold negative positions on the energy transition, suggesting that oil is desirable in the long-term energy mix. For several years, as a member of the METI Resources and Fuels Subcommittee, PAJ has consistently advocated on the importance of securing upstream oil interests and requested support from the government. For example, in the same subcommittee in April 2022, PAJ argued that it is “extremely important” to increase investment into upstream development. In a METI hearing in July 2022, Chairman Sugimori advocated for continued fuel subsidies and an extension of exemptions to the gasoline tax.

In November 2021, PAJ issued a proposal and hosted an event attended by Diet members, where the association strongly opposed fossil fuel taxes, called for road and vehicle taxes to be applied equally to EVs as to conventional vehicles, and appeared to emphasize concerns over that the widespread use of EVs. Chairman Sugimori stated that gasoline for vehicles "will not become unnecessary" because hybrid vehicles will still remain in 2030" in an interview with Nikkei Shimbun in December 2020.

InfluenceMap collects and assesses evidence of corporate climate policy engagement on a weekly basis, depending on the availability of information from each specific data source (for more information see our methodology). While this analysis flows through to the company’s scores each week, the summary above is updated periodically. This summary was last updated in Q4 2022.

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