November 30, 2002



Keywords: Newsletter 

JFS Newsletter No.3 (November 2002)

As indicated above, the transport sector accounts for over 20 percent of Japan's total CO2 emissions, and had the highest increase of any sector since 1990.

In the field of transportation, Japan has one of the best-developed railway systems in the world. Almost 40 percent of railway users in the world are in Japan, with 62 million of the world's 160 million daily railway users.

The extensive use of railways is certainly one of Japan's transportation characteristics. However, a breakdown of CO2 emission from transport sector by transport mode in Japan in 1999 shows a different picture.

- Passenger car 56.4 percent
- Private truck 11.3 percent
- Commercial truck 16.7 percent
- Taxi 17 percent
- Bus 1.7 (Total road traffic 87 percent)
- Domestic shipping 5.5 percent
- Airplane 4.0 percent
- Railway 2.7 percent
(Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport)

The bottom line is this: almost 90 percent of transportation is via road traffic.

Japan's data on CO2 emissions by transport mode shows 18 grams of CO2 emissions to transport one person one kilometer by railway, 99 grams by bus, 110 grams by airplane and 172 grams by passenger car.
(Source: Transport-related Energy Directory 2001-2002)

On the technology front, the fuel economy of cars has been advancing. However, since consumers are demanding larger cars, the actual fuel economy on the road has not improved. Another factor behind the increase of car-derived CO2 emissions is the rise in car ownership. (In Japan, the number of vehicles owned has been on a steady rise from 16.53 million vehicles in 1970, to 37.33 million in 1980, 57.99 million in 1990, and 76.84 million at the end of August 2002.) (Source: Automobile Inspection & Registration Association)

The government's Guidelines of Measures to Prevent Global Warming stipulate the following measures to reduce CO2 emissions from transport sector by 2010:

- Improving automobile fuel economy: 4 million tonnes
- Making truck transport more efficient: 2.5 million tonnes
- Promoting mass transportation: 1.6 million tonnes
- Promoting alternatives to transportation by using telecommunications: 1.1 million tonnes
- Promoting ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems): 1.1 million tonnes
- Developing cars that use non-fossil fuel based energy (other than gasoline and diesel oil): 0.9 million tonnes
- Promoting TDM (Traffic Demand Management ): 0.1 million tonnes

In the past one or two years, companies have been paying much attention to the reorganization of their logistics and modal shifting. For example:
Electronic Equipment and IT Companies Reorganize Distribution Systems

Oki Electric Reduces CO2 Emissions from Distribution
Oki Reduces Its Distribution CO2 Emissions
Sharp Accelerates "Modal Shift"

These and other companies are not focusing on modal shifting and reorganization of logistics just to preserve the global environment. They are promoting such changes aggressively because they can benefit as companies from the initiatives by reducing costs.

Take Nissan Motor Co for example. Their report on modal shifting states that if they shift from truck-based transport of parts and components from the Kanto area (Tokyo and surroundings) to their plant in Kyushu (about 1,000 kilometers away), their shipping time would grow from the current levels of 22 to 26 hours, to between 41 and 44.5 hours. At the same time, however, they can cut transport costs by 31 percent, workload by 76 percent, energy consumption by 41 percent and CO2 emissions by 39 percent.

There are many examples of corporate collaboration to streamline logistics. For example, companies that are competing with each other in the market may form a shared delivery system so that all companies involved can benefit from a reduced number of trips to stores. More initiatives and collaboration are likely to emerge in the future.

The government of Japan and various organizations are supporting efforts to reduce environmental impacts in distribution and logistics industries by preparing easy-to-use manuals and guidebooks. For example:

Green Operations Manual for Truck Operators
Green Management Manual" for Japan's Trucking Industry

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Prepares Environmentally-Oriented Logistics Management System Manual
MLIT Publishes Manual for Environmentally-Responsible Logistics Management Systems

Driving Style Saves Fuel and Money
Better Driving Saves 18,000 Yen in Gas Annually

Some local governments in Japan are also working to reduce the use of automobiles. For example:
Nagoya City to Ban Car Commuting by Public Employees
Giving New Life to Abandoned Bicycles

Also, NGOs are starting to work in transport sector. For example:
"Velotaxi" Starts Operation in Kyoto

"Car-sharing" schemes can actually reduce CO2 emissions and other environmental impacts. At the same time, these schemes could help transform people's thinking away from "ownership" in favor of other ways to obtain the "functions or services" they seek. In many parts of Europe and the United States, car-sharing schemes are already in operation.

In contrast, it has been difficult to implement this concept in Japan because of existing laws and regulations, as well as current social systems. This is why the majority of car-sharing schemes in Japan at this point are still at the testing phase.
Car Sharing Starts on Campus
Honda Launches Sharing System for Electric Motor-Assisted Bicycles
Bicycle-Sharing Experiment in Tokyo
Honda Launches Membership-Based Car Sharing System in Singapore
Japan's First Car Sharing Company Starts Operation

As the last article points out, in contrast with the United States, where car-sharing is often viewed as a venture business opportunity, in Japan the government often gets involved. Agencies such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport have been promoting car-sharing in conjunction with their efforts to expand the use of low-pollution vehicles such as electric cars. JFS will continue to report on the implementation and development of car-sharing in Japan.