Your Excellency Ambassador Julia Longbottom, distinguished guests, executives of Drax Asia from the United Kingdom,and ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
My name is Takashi Tsukamoto, and I am the Chairman of the Japan-British Society. It is a great honor to be here in the presence of so many distinguished guests. As you have asked me to say a few words, I would like to propose a toast.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Drax on the establishment of an Asian subsidiary in Japan. It is significant that Drax, a leader in biomass power generation, has chosen Japan as the location to develop its business on a large scale. I would like to comment on this from two perspectives.
First, it is the aim of Japan’s Basic Energy Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and Drax’s entry into the Japanese market is expected to serve as a catalyst for renewable energy use. As nuclear power generation, which has played an important role as a base-load power source, has not been fully restarted in Japan, the role of renewable energy in the energy mix has of course been increasing. Further expansion of biomass power generation—one of the most promising options in this area—is also expected in the future. We hope that the technology and experience of Drax, a proven leader in this field, will be introduced at scale to help promote Japan’s energy transition.
Second, I believe that Drax’s expansion into Japan will help build a strong foundation for the further evolution of relations between the UK and Japan. As the ambassador mentioned, fewer and fewer British companies are entering the Japanese market. But in recent years, Japan and the UK have been building new alliances not only in the economic and cultural spheres, but also around security. The fact that a leading British company is entering the Japanese renewable energy market, an area of vital strategic importance to the nation, is of great significance. This move is expected to deepen ties in new areas of the Anglo-Japanese relationship.
People often say that the UK and Japan are friends who share common values like freedom, democracy, the rule of law and freedom of speech. However, I believe that what makes the Anglo-Japanese relationship stand out from other bilateral relationships is rather the trust that has been built up between our countries and our people over a long history of interaction. In addition to shared values, it is crucial to have a relationship of trust in which both sides understand each other’s differences. In the same way, it is important for nations to have mutual respect based on a deep understanding of the differences in each other’s positions. And in this sense, the UK-Japan relationship is a rare bilateral connection that is indeed based on mutual trust and respect.
Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England and current UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, once gave a famous speech entitled “Breaking the Tragedy of the Horizon,” in which he warned the world about climate change. Here, the “tragedy of the horizon” means that climate-related risks will affect business activities over a span of decades, and by the time they materialize, it will be too late to do anything about them. As you all know, the TCFD, which Mr. Carney advocated for to mitigate climate-related risks, is now globally recognized.
The energy challenge in our country has various structural aspects, and it will not be easy to resolve the various issues. But with the help of Drax, our British partner, I am very much looking forward to a new horizon and a new energy strategy for our country, together with all of you gathered here today.
I would now like to propose a toast to Your Excellency the Ambassador, distinguished guests and all of you here today, to congratulate Drax on its new start in Japan, wishing it continued growth and success, and of course wishing all of you every success and the very best of health.
Please join me in a toast. Cheers!