Sony warned to move their factories out of Japan

Sony Corp. has warned that if the government does not relax the relevant laws and regulations on renewable energy, they may have to move their factories out of Japan. Find another place to set up a factory.

Japan’s renewable energy industry is developing slowly, and it is difficult for Japanese companies to purchase enough green electricity in the country. To meet the needs of customers such as Apple and Facebook who want the global supply chain to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Financial Times reported on the 26th that Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida’s comments highlighted the pressure faced by Japanese companies. Earlier in November, senior officials of Ricoh, Kao and Nissay Asset Management also mentioned the same concerns when they met with Taro Kono, the Minister of Reform in Japan. In an interview, Taro Kono said, “They told me that it is complicated to buy renewable energy in Japan. Not only is electricity limited, but it is also costly. In case the government does not act quickly, they might have to move out of Japan.”

According to Japan’s current plan, the share of renewable energy in the 2030 fiscal year should rise from 17% in 2018 to a maximum of 24%, which is still lower than the 30% reached by many European countries. When corporate members of the Japan Climate Change Initiative (JCI) met with Taro Kono earlier this month, they called on the government to increase the 2030 target for the proportion of green electricity to more than 40%.
Sony hopes that by 2040, all its factories will be able to use 100% green electricity.

The European factories have reached the standard, the Chinese factories will also be converted by the end of March 2021, and the North American factories are scheduled for 2030. However, the Japanese factory that manufactures image sensors for the iPhone may face major challenges. Not only that, Sony has to try to advance the timetable for 100% use of green power by 10 years to meet Apple’s requirements.

The production of image sensors requires strong and stable electricity, making the conversion to renewable energy even more difficult. However, it is equally difficult to move production bases abroad, as Sony’s most valuable and competitive technologies may be outflowed.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga promised in his first congressional policy speech after taking office on October 26 that Japan will reach “carbon neutral” (carbon neutral, which means achieving a net carbon footprint of zero) by 2050. There will also be major changes in energy policy.

Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster broke out in 2011 and prompted the country to shut down nuclear reactors, Japan has been unable to succeed despite its attempts to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Yoshihide Suga did not put forward any specific policies at the time, causing many people to question how Japan would meet the standards. He only stated that “next-generation solar panels” and “carbon recycling” technologies are expected to drive the energy transition, and promised that the government would assist with digital policies and reform laws.

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