“We need to think about neutrality of the entire planet, not at the level of a single country.” -Miyadai
To begin with, I’d like to ask Mr. Fukuda to explain again what “carbon neutral” and “decarbonization” are that we hear so much about.
Fukuda: Simply put, zero greenhouse gas emissions as a whole. But it not realistic to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions to zero. CO2 can be absorbed by forests or buried underground, so the goal is to offset ’emissions’ by ‘absorption’ and aim for zero.
Currently, 123 countries and 1 region *1 including Japan have endorsed carbon neutrality, aiming to achieve a Carbon Neutral society by 2050. Many countries in North America and Europe have endorsed carbon neutrality, but why are there so few countries in Southeast Asia and Africa?
Fukuda: Developed countries that already have somewhat mature economies can reduce their emissions, but the reality is that developing countries will have to emit CO2 in order to develop their economies. So, I think the number of participating countries will increase if we clarify how much the developed countries can support the developing countries.
Miyadai: This is the most important area where global governance is needed. As Mr. Fukuda said, if there is a global CO2 emission capacity, developed countries have used most of the capacity since the industrial revolution, and there’s little room left. It’s unfair to ask developing countries to produce CO2 within that small limit. There is no way to achieve that goal without us, developed countries, spending money to help developing countries with environmental measures.
In fact, India and Latin America use inefficient air conditioners and industrial plants, and it is ethically necessary to replace these as a gift from developed countries. Yet, Japanese people, who lack public spirit more than anywhere else, tend to have a shallow idea that “Japan did well” at the level of single country. Instead, to be truly public-spirited is to think about neutrality of the entire planet.
DARTH: It’s the same structure as the COVAX*2 idea of providing vaccines to the whole world. It’s completely meaningless to leave out one part of the world, and if the vaccine uptake rate doesn’t increase on a global scale, the problem won’t be solved. Even in terms of climate, you can’t just draw a border line and say, “the air is clean from here to here.” If the bureaucrats in Japan are just thinking, “we’ve set a reduction target, so let’s do it,” then I think we’ve strayed far from the premise of what we’re currently talking about.
SUGIZO: Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that Japan is in the same situation as Darth described. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared in 2020 that Japan would reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions to virtually zero by 2050, I think that decision was made being conscious of the world. Whatever the reason, it was significant that the Prime Minister of a country made such a statement, and I hope it’ll raise awareness of politicians.
Fukuda: Until now, Japan’s economic growth has been achieved by moving factories to Asian countries where labor costs are low and manufacturing costs can be reduced. Given the reality that the CO2 emitted by those factories should have been emitted in Japan, I don’t think we can say, “we don’t know, let the developing countries deal with it.” When Japanese companies expand their factories to Asian countries in the future, even if the cost increases, they need to build factories with facilities that do not emit CO2, or else our nation will be seen as irresponsible by foreign countries. That’s why it’s good to have companies make efforts and even if production costs rise and products cost 100 yen more, consumers will buy and I think the cooperation continues.
*1 Source: “Japan’s Energy 2020: Understanding Japan’s Energy Today,” Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
*2 COVAX……A global initiative for equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine, led by the GAVI Alliance (GAVI), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), and others.
“We have already begun to shift in the ‘good direction’.” – SUGIZO
True. Even if the price goes up 100 yen, if that reduces CO2, it’ll lead to protecting the earth. SUGIZO often uses the word “altruistic”, and from that perspective, 100 yen is not expensive. It would be great if we could change our mindset and sense of value.
DARTH: Based on the premise that a company pursues profit, instead of short-term increase of 100 yen in the price of product, it would be great if we could create a market where a company’s long-term efforts to decarbonize becomes its branding and leads to profit. In other words, it would be good if we could become a market where reducing CO2 becomes profitable. If consumers and investors buy products from companies that are making such efforts, and if the stock prices of such companies rise, the good things for the society and the profits will simply be linked. Europe and the U.S. already have such a way of thinking, and unless that is incorporated into corporate governance, businesses can no longer compete.
Miyadai: That’s right. This is called ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investment. In this case, the goal is not to abolish capitalism. First of all, capitalism is defined as “a system that uses capital to multiply capital.” We don’t need to abolish capitalism, but we do need a form of social value to serve as an incentive to “make money”. In other words, if we can create a society where “doing good is profitable,” companies will do good.
Now, whether doing good is profitable or not is determined by the behavior of consumers and investors. Consumption and investment in the economy is like voting in politics. So, as I said earlier, the spread of social values is as important in the economy as it is in politics.
DARTH: That point of view reminded me of the reaction of Japanese society to Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open due to mental health problems. The most common reaction was, “how can she do this when she has sponsors?” But as it turned out, the American sponsors invested more in Naomi Osaka. In other words, the company thought that sponsoring an athlete with a message like Naomi Osaka’s was positive, but Japanese consumers would not buy something from someone who sends such a message. I think this mindset on the consumer side is actually a huge bottleneck.
Miyadai: That’s exactly what I mean about the inferiority of Japanese people, that they have no sense of values and are always looking around being too self-conscious of others and their surroundings. This is an inferiority complex that has existed for a long time, and it is not easy to change. That’s why Mr.SUGIZO said earlier that PM Suga’s comments were made “being conscious of the world.” In other words, Japan probably needs a strong, “Black Ships” (A historical event in Japan when Commodore Perry arrived from the U.S. on black-colored warships which intimidated Japan to open its gates to trade with the West)-level foreign pressure.
Another factor is reputation. As Ruth Benedict *3 said, “A culture of sin (in Western Europe), a culture of shame (in Japan).” Japanese people have a tendency to take a political position based on social atmosphere instead of having a sense of value. That is, as Yukio Mishima said, a country where “an emperorist becomes a democrat overnight.” If so, there is a possibility to take advantage of that inferiority and change the atmosphere, and change the game of political positioning. Therefore, when thinking about political matter such as environment measures, it is’ important to think about how to effectively use the inferiority of the Japanese people.
SUGIZO: I recognize that we’re starting to shift in the “good direction” that you both mentioned. For example, Apple announced last year that they will seek their suppliers to cooperate in order to achieve carbon neutrality. That turned Japanese companies’ upside down, didn’t it? Even if they are behind in terms of awareness, Japanese companies will definitely start reducing CO2 emissions, thinking, “if Apple says so, we have to do it.” When you think about it, no matter what the motivation is, there’s no doubt that many Japanese companies will change drastically in the future. At the same time, I think a new era needs to come where the new generation thinks that value is good and supports companies, athletes, and artists who express such values. In that sense, I feel that right now is a great time for this shift to take place.
*3 Ruth Benedict…… (June 5, 1887 – September 17, 1948)An American cultural anthropologist born in New York City. She is known for popularizing the term “racism” and for writing “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” which describes Japanese culture. This statement in the article is also from “Chrysanthemum and the Sword”.
“In what kind of global environment do we want our descendants to live 500 or 1,000 years from now?” – SUGIZO
According to a report by the IPPC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), if no action is taken, global warming will continue, and in the worst case, the temperature will rise by 4.4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. If this happens, the ice in the Arctic Circle will melt, sea levels will rise, more land will sink into the sea, and many people will become refugees. In recent years, there have also been reports of many extreme weather events and natural disasters occurring around the world. It’s a very urgent situation, but is it actually feasible for Japan to “reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions to practically zero by 2050”? What is your view on this, Mr. Fukuda?
Fukuda: It cannot be achieved by accumulating what can be achieved. It’s called a ‘political goal,’ but the only way to achieve it is to set a high goal and try to get closer to it by force. There are people who say it is scientifically impossible. However, we can’t just say, “this is as far as we can get” and quit, so we all have to make an effort to get closer to the goal, taking into account the harsh reality. If you call it merely willpower, that’s the end of it, but unfortunately, that’s the only way to deal with it for now.
DARTH: This is related to what you just said, but if you look at various charts and graphs, the curve for reducing CO2 by 2030 is almost the same as the curve for restarting nuclear power plants. In short, I suspect that the bureaucrats are trying to use decarbonization as a logic for restarting nuclear power plants. In that case, it will not be for the sake of the earth, but for the sake of protecting small vested interests. There is a dilemma in which even the mindset of “setting a high goal and trying to reach it by force” that Mr. Fukuda mentioned will be taken advantage of by such interests.
If you look at the “Outline of the Basic Energy Plan (Draft)” announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on July 21, 2021, you will see that the percentage of nuclear power plants in the power source composition for 2030 is going to be “20%-22%”, an increase from “6%” in 2019. What do you think of these figures, SUGIZO, as someone who’s been calling for a nuclear-free world for many years?
SUGIZO: That’s an impossible number. But as I said earlier, if we consider that Japan moves in accordance with foreign countries, many of which are definitely moving in the direction of nuclear power withdrawal, although it may sound idealistic, I would like to believe that the time will come when Japan will no longer be promoting nuclear power for the sake of vested interests. These figures are for the year 2030, but if you think about 100 or 500 years down the road, nuclear power will be impossible. Speaking from the perspective of “altruism,” I think we should think about what kind of global environment we want our descendants to live in 500 or 1,000 years from now and how we can lay the foundation for them in our generation.
Miyadai: You’re right. Japanese people today have deteriorated so much that they can only calculate profit and loss. Therefore, we have no choice but to confront them with profit and loss, and ultimately make them move in an ethical direction. This is where the cost of electric power generation becomes important. According to statistics from various countries, the cost of generating electricity from renewable energies is currently half the cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels or nuclear power. Most of the renewable energies are solar and wind, and over the past decade the cost of solar power has dropped to one-tenth and the cost of wind power has dropped to one-fourth, and the cost of power generation will continue to fall as a result of technological learning.
On the other hand, fossil fuels are typically made into hard oil in the oil fields, as the reserves decrease, the mining cost increases, and the cost of power generation rises. For nuclear power, the cost of power generation will also go up due to growing safety requirements demanded by local residents as they learn from past accidents, and also because time has come to consider the cost of decommissioning nuclear power plants. So, the more the regional monopoly power companies and nuclear power companies cling to their short-term profits, the more we Japanese businesses and households will have to pay a ridiculously high annual tribute every time we use electricity, and our economic indicators, which are the lowest in the developed world, will get worse.
Miyadai: On top of that of course, I would also like to appeal to the inferior Japanese people with little sense of ethics and values, to start embracing ethics and values. In terms of evolutionary biology, the sense of “rightness” that forms the basis of ethics and values is not about the gain or loss of an individual, but about the gain or loss of a group of friends. However, since we are not in prehistoric times, it is not enough to be “selfless for the sake of the group to which you belong (inner group)” like the Japanese. We need a modern sense of “rightness” – public-spiritedness – based on the idea that we consider all groups, including the inner and outer groups, our friends.
If this is a spatial public-spiritedness, then we also need a temporal sense of “rightness” based on the premise that future generations, including our children and grandchildren, are also our friends. It is well known that the radioactive waste produced by nuclear power plants will be a huge burden for our children and grandchildren. However, our children and grandchildren will not be able to react to us. It is literally the same relationship between “adults = the strong” and “children = the weak”. Therefore, it is completely egocentric for us to unilaterally impose radioactive waste on our children. It would be ethically unacceptable. It is so shallow and shameful to look only at our generation and say that we should not emit CO2 considering international reputation. It is important to feel ashamed of the inferiority of Japanese people.
SUGIZO: I think it’s ultimately irresponsible to push problems into the future. I strongly believe that we should be ashamed of ourselves as a human race.
Miyadai: In political science, there is a concept called ‘communitarianism’. From this perspective, it is very important to include our descendants in our group, in other words, to consider our descendants as our group of friends. Since there is a time lag for climate change, if we behave in an excessively restrained manner now, we can maintain the environment for our children and grandchildren in the future. In this sense, we need this communitarian idea, especially the sense of community across time. If we only think of the current working generation as our group of friends, we will not be able to deal with the global environment.
Fukuda: Restarting nuclear power plants is, in essence, saying, “CO2 is bad, but radioactive waste is good.” But both are bad. In the end, the logic behind the need for nuclear power is that renewable energy is unstable, so we need to have a base load power source, and that’s why we need nuclear power. This is what I’ve continuously heard in the diet. That’s why I think it’s important that the Basic Energy Plan includes 1% hydrogen and ammonia in its power source composition for 2030. Burning hydrogen does not produce CO2 or radioactive waste. This 1% is a small number, but it’s significant in the sense that we’ve finally been admitted.
“Currently, the biggest disadvantage of hydrogen energy is the cost, but it’ll go down in the future.”- Fukuda
Can you explain what hydrogen energy is in the first place?
Fukuda: The first thing I’d like to tell you about hydrogen is that it’s called “secondary energy” and does not exist in nature alone, so it must be produced from something else. There are four ways to produce hydrogen: (1) fossil fuels, (2) by-products of industrial processes such as oil refineries and chemical plants, (3) biomass, and (4) renewable energy. The hydrogen produced by these methods is called either “gray hydrogen,” which emits CO2, or “green hydrogen,” which doesn’t. In the four categories mentioned above, the further you go from (1) towards (4), the greener the energy gets.
At the present stage, which type is in practical use?
Fukuda: The first one.
So, in the current situation, we are emitting CO2 to make hydrogen, right?
Fukuda: Yes. But still, the amount of CO2 generated is much lower when hydrogen is used rather than burning purely fossil fuels as energy.
Does that mean we can reduce CO2 emissions just by replacing the current thermal power generation with hydrogen?
SUGIZO: Yes. Can we assume that the practical application of green hydrogen, which has almost no emissions, is just around the corner?
Fukuda: Yes. But currently, the cost is a big problem.
By the way, there’s a question from the audience asking, “isn’t hydrogen dangerous?”
Fukuda: People often say so, and there are two reasons why. First, the Hindenburg explosion accident that happened in 1937, when an airship exploded in the United States. Many people are under the impression that hydrogen gas was the cause of the explosion, but subsequent research has shown that hydrogen wasn’t the cause. Even if hydrogen burns, it explodes in an instant and disperses into the air, so it disappears quickly, but in that accident, it kept burning. Researchers concluded that the paint was burning. The other thing is the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. People say it was a hydrogen explosion, right? It was, in fact, filled with hydrogen and exploded. But if you think of a balloon, if the amount of gas exceeds a certain level in a closed space, it will burst, right? In the same way, hydrogen just happened to be the type of gas leaking at the accident. Even if it had been CO2, it would have exploded in the same way.
I see. So, you’re saying that the explosion wasn’t caused by hydrogen. Now, I would like to ask you again about the advantages and disadvantages of hydrogen energy. You’ve already mentioned some of them. First of all, the advantages are: (1) reduction of the environmental burden, (2) improvement of energy security, (3) contribution to the strengthening of industry, (4) can be used in various forms, and (5) use as energy in an emergency.
Fukuda: I think that point (5) is the most important. Hydrogen cars and hydrogen gas are like mobile power plants, so if you take them to an evacuation center when a disaster happens, you can supply electricity.
In a country that is often hit by earthquakes and typhoons, this would certainly be a big advantage. And the disadvantages you’ve mentioned are, (1) low energy density per volume, (2) energy required to produce hydrogen, (3) high cost, (4) requires new infrastructure facilities, and (5) low demand.
Fukuda: The biggest problem at the moment is the third, high cost. The fourth and fifth are also related, but the reason why the price of hydrogen fuel and hydrogen vehicles is still high is because the amount used is small. If we don’t expand the demand, the cost will not come down, so that is a problem. But we are discussing expanding the demand at a rapid pace, so the cost should be going down soon.
The number of hydrogen cars is gradually increasing, but what are the barriers to this?
Fukuda: The cost of stations is high. The infrastructure is not in place to begin with. It’s a chicken-or-egg situation. There are only about 5,200 hydrogen cars in Japan now, but as the number of users increases, the infrastructure will grow, and that will lead to an increase in the number of users.
I was talking to an expert the other day, and he told me that energy is basically very much about whether energy investors can pick the winning horse 10 years from now and invest in it. That being said, I don’t think the world’s investors have fully appreciated hydrogen energy yet.
Miyadai: In terms of that subject, about 10 years ago, I interviewed Mr. Ulrich Kranz, BMW’s Head of Environmental Protection. At the time, the German company was running five different tracks (policies): diesel, hybrid, EV, gasoline vehicles, and hydrogen. So, I asked why won’t you unify them into a single track. The answer was simple, “because it’s a political matter.” Despite the several disadvantages, scientifically speaking, hydrogen is the most rational choice. But ultimately, it’s a political matter when it comes to deciding what kind of environmental response will help a company survive. That’s why BMW can’t focus on just one energy source.
Do you mean because it’s too dangerous?
Miyadai: It’s a danger in terms of business management. For example, behind the trend toward all-electric vehicles, there is an intention to politically change the economic structure to the disadvantage of Japanese and German automakers, the big winners of the fossil fuel era. This is one of the reasons why politics is the driving force behind the shift to hydrogen in the automobile industry. In this sense, environmental measures can only be found in the vague overlap between scientific rationality and political rationality. As BMW’s Executive, Mr. Krantz said, “we can’t just push for hydrogen just because it’s scientifically rational.”
Fukuda: Actually, Japan was the first country in the world to create a roadmap for hydrogen energy. Other countries, such as Germany, are still in the process of creating their own. Many countries have made roadmaps for fuel cell vehicles, but we were actually the first to make a roadmap for a total hydrogen energy society, including everything from power generation to fuel cells. There are many places in the world that still don’t have a picture of an entire hydrogen society, but once they start forming them, one thing we can do is to begin investing. What I want to achieve is to create a hydrogen energy society that includes hydrogen power generation and fuel cells, but there is still no global consensus on that.
Miyadai: Actually, I was only thinking about the hydrogen society in terms of cars, but what kind of vision do you have of a society where hydrogen becomes the infrastructure?
Fukuda: First, there could be cases where electricity is produced by fuel cells. Fuel cells are good for generating electricity from hydrogen only for certain residential areas, factories, and hospitals. The other is hydrogen power generation. A hydrogen power plant will be needed to power an entire city on a scale of the current thermal power plant. The 1% of power supply in 2030 that I mentioned earlier refers to this hydrogen power generation. In that sense, it has great significance, so I think we really need to start from here.
“When the time comes when all concert halls to use fuel cells, it will be beneficial to the environment and the quality of performance.” – SUGIZO
What made you start using hydrogen energy at your concerts?
SUGIZO: About five years ago, I met Mr. Fukuda at a symposium about Cool Japan, and I knew that he was striving for the realization of a hydrogen society. And when we talked about hydrogen, we got really excited, and the next time we met I asked him, “can we have a concert using hydrogen?” That’s how it all started. First, I experimented with just my guitar at LUNA SEA’s Budokan concert, and then I played all the members’ instruments with hydrogen. When I actually did it, there was a byproduct – that the sound quality was insanely good. I had the same feeling as when my friends and I performed using solar power, but the quality of the sound was so much better this time because the electricity generated on the spot doesn’t deteriorate.
You mean because it doesn’t have to go through power lines, right?
SUGIZO: Yes. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it from an audiophile perspective. This is a huge byproduct, improving the quality of expression while working towards carbon neutrality. So, I decided to go ahead with this, and have been doing it for about four and a half years now.
How do you use hydrogen energy in your live performances?
SUGIZO: We bring in hydrogen fuel cell cars and connect them with converters to send electricity to the instruments. What’s great is that when the hydrogen fuel cell cars generate electricity, the only waste is water. For the three days of LUNA SEA’s concert in Ariake (Tokyo Garden Theater) in May this year, four MIRAI (hydrogen cars) were used to power the instruments. Also, the commonly used hydrogen fuel cell cars are still grey hydrogen which unfortunately emits CO2. But I think it’s very important to use green hydrogen, so I use green hydrogen transported from the hydrogen energy research field in Namie-cho, Fukushima Prefecture, in a lorry to generate electricity. Of course, the lorry themselves still generate CO2, but I think it’s significant that the sound is generated by green hydrogen. Also, the hydrogen field in Namie-cho is also very important. As you know it’s in Fukushima, I think it’s wonderful that a clean hydrogen society could be led by the land where the nuclear power plant accident happened. I’ve been filling up hydrogen from Namie-cho for my live performances for the past few years.
Fukuda: There was a comment from viewer earlier that U2 had already done it. But actually, I asked SUGIZO to suggest to U2 to hold their concert with hydrogen.
SUGIZO: A few years ago, when we were having a meeting, Mr. Fukuda suddenly said, “U2 is coming to Japan. Can you ask them to hold their concert using hydrogen?” (LOL)
Easy for him to say (LOL).
SUGIZO: (LOL) Luckily, the producer of our LUNA SEA album was Steve Lillywhite, who had been working with U2, so when we talked to him about it, he immediately told the U2 members directly and they replied, “let’s try.” That’s how the U2 concert at Saitama Super Arena in 2019 became a reality. Mr. Fukuda and I supplied their electricity with our cars.
Fukuda: I got a taste for it with LUNA SEA (LOL). But now that the top Japanese bands and the top European bands have done it, I’m thinking it’s got to be the top American bands turn next.
SUGIZO: Holding a concert with hydrogen fuel cells may still be seen as a special, but ideally, I’d like to make it the norm. It’s not only for music, but also for musicals and movies, too. My dream is for all movie theaters and concert halls to use fuel cells, which will be good for the environment and the quality of performance. Right now, it’s still very costly, so I’m holding my hopes based on the ideal prediction that we will gradually shift to fuel cells at some point.
DARTH: Right now, the damage to live music venues caused by COVID is very serious. When the pandemic has settled down to a certain degree and when we start to recover, it would be great if we could rebuild live music venues to use hydrogen electricity to play instruments instead of merely going back to the system before. Something needs to be done. Perhaps subsidizing it. By proposing this to them, small venues and theaters can stand up and say, “we use hydrogen power,” then new energy would become a part of everyday life.
It’d be amazing to see that happen.
SUGIZO: I think we have to take action and get the government to cooperate.
“Why are we sorting garbage? the purpose needs to be explained properly.” – DARTHREIDER
Lastly, I think there are some things that individuals can do to help achieve a Carbon Neutral society. Looking at CO2 emissions in Japan in 2018, out of total 1.14 billion tons, the household sector accounted for 0.5 billion tons*4. Efforts to reduce this include reducing the use of plastic bottles and packaging waste made from plastic. The plastic containers and packaging waste in the world are dealt with the following methods: recycling 14%, incineration 14%, and outflow 32%*5.
SUGIZO: I can’t believe there’s so much ‘outflow’.
Which is a factor in marine pollution. In addition, Japan has a recycling rate of about 85% for PET bottles, but actually exports about 35% of that. Moreover, more than half of the bottles are used for thermal recycling*6, which also emits CO2, so it is sometimes said that recycling in Japan is a sham.
Fukuda: Being called a sham loses everything, but it’s an easy-to-understand description of what’s happening. Speaking of which, in terms of CO2 reduction, the problem of plastic waste isn’t that big of a percentage. However, what I think is important here is that this is where people can feel they’re participating. Recently, I’ve been asked at convenience stores, “do you need a bag?” You may doubt its effectiveness when you think about how little it actually reduces CO2 emissions. But I think it’s significant in always maintaining that kind of awareness and giving awareness to people. In addition, there’s also a problem that the recycling industry faces; if there are leftover drinks or food in the trash cans and bottles, they can’t be recycled.
DARTH: What you just said about ‘keeping people aware’ is so crucial. I think it’s also important to think about how much of these discussions are being held, especially in primary education. We need to tell people why we separate garbage and why we shouldn’t put leftover drinks in garbage bags. Even with plastic bags, when people talk about changing to “my-bag” (reusable bags), if they don’t properly explain why, they may end up with, “I have 50 my-bags.” which is meaningless since it’s said my-bag will fall below the CO2 emission of plastic shopping bags only after it has been used 50 times or more. That’s why it’s necessary to discuss the purpose of why we are doing this from a young age. Even a child can understand that.
SUGIZO: Certainly, it’s something that should be taught to children. If you explain things properly, I think their behavior will change. If you don’t explain the reason and just say “no” or “don’t do it”, I would have wanted to rebel in my childhood.
The viewers commented on recycling as “just a sense of doing”
Miyadai: The fundamental issues related to ‘feeling of doing’ is how much a person can commit to a set of values, is actually a matter of priority determined by the state of society. For example, as you know, one in four people in Japan die alone, and more than 80% of them are men. I would like everyone to think about how difficult it is for such lonely people to become altruistic. In a society where people are not nurtured from a young age to have the sensitivity to live with others, and where lonely deaths are left unattended, everything has to be done with a sense of ‘feeling of doing’. In other words, we become used to self-satisfaction. In order to feel that you are helping someone, you need to have a foundation of “friends” so that you can imagine someone in real life.
So, we have two problems here. “The fundamental problem of not having a shared purpose” mentioned by Darth, and “The problem of the value of living with friends” as described by Mr. Miyadai. It seems quite difficult to solve the continuous “feeling of doing” that stems from both problems….but it means that there is no choice but to do what we can.
SUGIZO: There is one thing that we can do right away. Of course, I’m also doing my part, but now we can choose from a variety of renewable energy-based power companies, so I think switching is something that everyone should do.
Fukuda: People often say that renewable energy is expensive. It’s true that it’s somewhat expensive depending on the amount of electricity you use and the company. But please, think about it calmly. Many Japanese people buy bottled water even though they can drink tap water, right? If you think about it that way, I think you can buy electricity even if it’s a little expensive.
SUGIZO: Even if it’s a little pricey, I think it’s worth paying for the sake of the world and the future. It might be impossible if 100 yen was to increase to 10,000 yen, but if it’s just an increase of 10 to 20 yen, I think it’s an awareness that can be shared to all. Also, I think it’s important to note that we haven’t reached 100% of the ideal state yet, whether it’s hydrogen or renewable energy. But I think it is necessary to take action to gradually reduce the technological risks, so that the situation improves to 50%, 70%, and 90%. I think the all-or-nothing mindset is very unproductive as some think it’s meaningless unless 100% is not achieved. If anything, right now is the step to change. So, if we take one action at a time and let it become common sense, as the new normal to build a new society, after which we will reach future of 100%, the ideal of 100%. So, I would like to say, “let’s all take action.”
*4 Source…… “Considerations for Achieving Carbon Neutrality in 2050”, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, November 17, 2020.
*5Source…… “An Illustrated Guide to a Carbon Neutral Society from Age 14” (Ota Publishing Co., Ltd.)
*6 Thermal recycling…… Recovery and utilization of thermal energy generated during incineration, instead of simply incinerating waste.
Composer, guitarist, violinist, and music producer. He has been active on a global scale as a member of Japan’s leading rock bands LUNA SEA and X JAPAN. At the same time, he pursues his own unique style of electronic music as a solo artist, and has also produced many soundtracks for films and stages. Last year, he re-launched the psychedelic jam band SHAG after 12 years. In parallel with his music, he is actively involved in peace, human rights and refugee support, renewable energy and environmental activities, and volunteer work in disaster-stricken areas. He is known as an activist.
Born in 1964. He was a member of the Yokohama City Council for two terms in 1999, a member of the House of Representatives for three terms in 2005, an assistant minister in the Cabinet Office in 2015, and a vice minister in the Cabinet Office in 2017.
While in office of the House of Representatives, he was in charge of areas such as IT & digitalization, hydrogen energy, renewable energy, rule formation strategy, intellectual property, and the election system. He has also strived to formulate legislative proposals such as the revised Public Offices Election Law to lift the ban on internet campaigning, the Basic Law on Cyber Security, and the Basic Law on the Promotion of Public-Private Data Utilization. He is also currently an advisor to a number of venture companies. He is the author of “Hydrogen, Electricity!” (Art Days, Inc.), “Oretachi ‘Digital Zoku’ Senator” (Kindle), and “Rulemaking Strategy to Win in the Global Market” (Asahi Shimbun Publishing).
『Sora no Uta～Higher and Higher～』LUNA SEA
Reason of choice: The song was written by the first band in the world to perform a hydrogen fuel cell power-generated concert, and the guitar solo embodies the sound quality of electricity produced by hydrogen.
Reason of choice: Song that represent the World’s No.1 band who used hydrogen energy for their first concert in Japan in 13 years. Hoping that they will use hydrogen energy for their concerts in Europe.
Reason of choice: This is a symbolic song of a band that has stopped its world tour because of its environmental impact and is searching for the ideal form of concerts for the future.
Born in Sendai City in 1959. Professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University. Specializes in sociology. In the 1990s, he attracted attention with his essays on aid societies and the Aum Shinrikyo incident, and has since continued to critique politics and society through various media. He is the author of numerous books, including “Sociology from Age 14” (Chikuma Bunko) and “Japan’s Difficulties” (Gentosha Shinsho). His most recent book is “Accelerating Collapse: ‘Society’ Sinks and ‘the World’ Emerges” (blueprint).
『I Talk To The Wind』Giles, Giles and Frip（1968）
『Grantchester Meadows』Pink Floyd（1969）
『Willow’s Song』The Go! Team（2007）
The theme of the “First Summer of Love” at the end of the 1960s was “freedom from the state,” symbolized by the anti-war movement. The theme of the “Second Summer of Love” in the 1980s was “freedom from administrative control,” symbolized by raves and squatting. The theme of the “Third Summer of Love”, which will arrive in the 2020s, will be “freedom from the hardships of life,” symbolized by metaverse. Progressive music is, of course, the godsent child of the First Summer of Love, but since it is a white middle-class culture, its freedom from the state is directed toward “nature” and “the universe”. From my point of view, this is one of the starting points of sensitivity toward “communal autonomy in energy and food”. In other words, we can find a desire for a “social style” with a sense of community, rather than an individualized “lifestyle”.
Born in Paris, France, in 1977. Raised in London. Dropped out of Tokyo University. Musician, rapper, MC, and vocalist of the three-piece band The Bassons. He suffered a stroke in 2010 and lost sight in his left eye due to complications. He is the author of “Darthreider Autobiography: NO Restraint” (Rice Press). His most recent book is “Hip-Hop as a Weapon” (Gentosha).
『All things must pass』 George Harrison
『Changes』 David Bowie
『Energy flow』 Ryuichi Sakamoto
Text by the editorial staff of “KIMINITOU”
*This article is part of the transcript of “Fukabori TV ver.2” ‘Digging Deeper into Carbon Neutral Society!’ with some additions and correction.
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