Canadian Biomass Magazine

Virtual Event
WPAC Asian Wood Pellet Conference
February 16, 2021 at 7:00pm ET

Examining Political and Legal Trends: Government Legislation and Policy in Japan and their Impacts for Biomass

Speakers: Peter Armstrong and Maya Ito, Nishimura & Asahi

On October 26, 2020, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared that Japan will aim for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  The announcement included specific plans to revise Japan’s policy on coal-fired power plants, promote R&D on second-generation solar photovoltaic technology and carbon recycling technologies – including negative emission technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and set up a platform for national and subnational governments to discuss ways toward decarbonisation.

Moreover, Japan has launched its latest three-yearly energy policy review, with the country grappling with a need to cut greenhouse gas emissions even as the public remains wary over nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster. This review may result in a change to Japan’s targeted mix of power sources for 2030, particularly in light of Japan’s difficulty in achieving nuclear targets and the continuing heavy reliance on liquefied natural gas and coal.  This is likely to create additional opportunities for renewable energy, including bioenergy.

Peter and Maya will give their insights on legal and policy developments in Japan and how they may affect the continued development of renewable energy.

Overview of presentation:

Maya Ito and Peter Armstrong of Nishimura and Asahi provide an overview the legal regime applicable to biomass power generation in Japan and other legal considerations relevant to the development and operation of biomass energy generation projects in Japan.  Maya and Peter will discuss the Japanese biomass Feed-in-Tariff regime and outline the requirements that must be satisfied by biomass energy generators in order to satisfy under the Japanese Feed-in-Tariff regime, with a particular focus on the sustainability requirements and guidelines.

In this context, Maya and Peter will also discuss the bankability of biomass energy generation projects and, in particular, how sponsors interpret the Feed-in-Tariff requirements and guidelines applicable to biomass energy generation projects, with a particular focus on what developers must be able to demonstrate to sponsors with respect to the supply of biomass fuel for the contemplated biomass project.  Finally, Maya and Peter will address certain commercial and contract law considerations relevant to the supply of biomass fuel that may be of interest to Canadian biomass fuel producers, including the choice of the law governing such supply relationships.

Peter Armstrong

Peter Armstrong is a partner with the Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi.  He assists Japanese and global entities on a wide range of complex cross-border commercial transactional areas, including mergers and acquisitions, foreign investment and finance, dispute resolution and crisis management.

His practice has a particular focus on cross-border energy and infrastructure projects, including providing advice with respect to the financing and structuring of projects as well as the negotiation and drafting of Operation and Maintenance contracts and engineering and construction contracts.

Peter also has expertise in managing complex regulatory and corporate crisis matters with multi- jurisdictional or parallel civil and criminal components and is regularly asked to assist clients with respect to the investigation and resolution of high profile and particularly sensitive matters.

He also frequently represents clients in connection with cross-border business investments, including mergers and acquisitions, the establishment of joint venture entities as well as licensing and distribution agreements.

Peter obtained his law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University (J.D.) in Toronto, Canada.

Maya Ito

Maya Ito is a partner at Nishimura & Asahi. She has extensive expertise in cross border project finance for various natural resources, power projects and other infrastructure projects,  compliance and  other corporate matters.  She obtained her LLM degree from Columbia University Law School, New York  and her LLB degree from the Keio University, Faculty of Law, in Tokyo.

Presentation Summary:

In October 2020, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declared that Japan will aim for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  The announcement included specific plans to:

  • revise Japan’s policy on coal-fired power plants,
  • promote renewable energy development; and
  • establish a platform for national and regional governments to achieve decarbonisation.

In its recent Renewable Energy Basic Plan, the Japanese Cabinet proposed to establish renewable energy as the primary energy source in Japan with a target energy mix that includes 22-24% of energy from renewable sources, such as biomass.

In light of these goals, Japan’s legal and policy energy landscape is rapidly evolving. For biomass energy producers, understanding these policies – including the Feed-in-Tariff regime and its sustainability requirements and guidelines, as well as applicable commercial and contractual principles – are important.

For a downloadable PDF of this presentation. Click here.



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