JP-1:Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan (VAP) (ENDED)

Policy Description

The Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan (VAP) on the Environment was a unilateral voluntary commitment devised by the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). The VAP was an important component of the Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan adopted in 2008 by the Japanese government. The VAP ended in 2012.


The Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan (VAP) on the Environment was a unilateral, voluntary and non-binding commitment devised by the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) [1]. The VAP was an important component of the Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan adopted in 2008 by the Japanese government [10]. It included a non-binding target to reduce CO2 emissions in industry and the energy sector below their 1990 levels by 2010.

VAP was comprehensive in its coverage, accounting for about 40% of total emissions in Japan in 1990 and 80% of industrial emmissions [11]. In the VAP, separate sector plans were drafted by respective industrial branch/sector organizations in consultation with government and the companies in the sector.

Different metrics of performance and targets could be applied. VAP allowed industry groups to choose among four types of indicators on which to base their targer: energy consumption, energy intensity, CO2 absolute emission, or CO2 intensity, but total energy consumption or emissions for the sector as a whole were not limited [9].

The VAP was subject to an annual review process at the sector level, the results of which were to be made public, but monitoring and verification at the level of companies was arranged internally by the industrial sector association concerned.

The progress of the VAP was reviewed periodically. There were no clear ramifications for non-compliance, such as being bound to an alternative policy or a "name-and-shame" provision.

Some sectors under the VAP were allowed to offset their GHG emissions. The flexible mechanisms under Kyoto Mechanisms, in particular the Clean Development Mechanism, could be used to offset own emissions [3]. The credits were subsequently transferred to the government free of charge [2]. Also, a domestic offset mechanism was available (Policy JP-7).


Policy Information Expand this section for information on the key features of the policy, such as its date of introduction, categorization, main objective(s) and linkages with other policies.

Policy Categorisation

Policy Instrument Type: Administrative, Voluntary Agreement

Position in the Pyramid

About Us

Participation: Voluntary


Start Date: 1997

End Date: 2012

Policy Linkages

Complements Mandatory energy efficiency benchmarking in industry Effort Defining
Supported By Fiscal incentives for energy efficiency Supporting Measure
Supported By Subsidy scheme for energy efficiency Supporting Measure
Supported By Mandatory energy efficiency benchmarking in industry Effort Defining
Supported By Emission Credit Scheme for Small and Medium-Sized Companies Supporting Measure

Agencies Responsible

Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI)
Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
Ministry of Environment

Primary Objective: GHG Emissions


To reduce CO2 emissions from the industrial and energy sectors in fiscal year 2010 to below the level of 1990 (*1). The Keidanren plan aimed to contribute CO2 savings of 42.4 Mt CO2 to the government’s Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan by 2012.

Target Group

35 industries, including energy, mining, construction, and at least some manufacturing sectors (including iron & steel, various non-ferrous metals, cement, glass, lime, refining, chemicals, food, vehicles, equipment, electronics) [2]

Driver of energy consumption or emissions affected by policy: Four options were available (to be determined by the sector): Energy efficiency, energy consumption, carbon intensity or carbon emissions (*2)

Implementation Information Expand this section for information on targets, monitoring, verification and enforcement regimes, and implementation requirements and tools.


About 40% of the total emissions in Japan and about 80% of emissions from the industrial and energy transformation sectors. In 2009, 34 industries in the industrial and energy-conversion sectors participated in the VAP.

Quantitative Target? yes

Target: Depends on the sector (for overview see [4]), e.g.: ・Iron and steel: Reduce energy consumption in the production process in FY2010 by 10% compared to the FY1990 level; ・Chemicals: In the period from FY 2008-2012, aim to reduce energy intensity to an average of 80% of the FY1990 level; ・Cement: Reduce energy intensity of cement production in FY2010 by 3.8% compared to the FY1990 level.

Time Period: Depends on the industry organisation target: 2010 or 2012 [4]

Progress Monitored? yes

Verification Required? yes

Enforced? no

Requirements on the Target Group

• General requirement : Energy management systems needed to comply with ISO 14000
• Specific requirements for each sector apply [6]

Support by Government

The government was consulted in the drafting of the sector level VAP plans, but played only a limited role in implementation.

Implementation Toolbox

The main tools provided by the government to support the implementation of the Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan (JP-1) were:

  • The support program for energy audits run by the Energy Conservation Centre Japan. Audits were carried out free of charge under the program.
  • Guidelines and protocols for energy management were published (in Japanese only). These tools complemented the support provided by the industry organizations.

Complexity of Implementation


The role of government in the VAP was limited

Target Group

Voluntary agreements require extensive discussions and negotiations within sectors.

Impacts, Costs & Benefits Expand this section to find information on policy effectiveness and efficiency.

Impact Quantitative Estimate Qualitative Estimate
Estimated effect on energy consumption or emissions The aim was to contribute 42.4 Mt emission reductions to the government's Kyoto Target Achievement Plan by 2012. According to the 2010 fiscal year, CO2 emissions by participating industries decreased by 16.8% compared to fiscal 1990. Without credits j-CERs, the decrease was 14.2% compared to fiscal 1990. [14] Not available
Estimated costs/benefits for industry Not available Not available
Estimated cost for government Not available Not available
Other Benefits
General Benefits Increased security of supply, reduced local air pollution, improved competitiveness.
Specific Benefits Better insight into emissions for 35 industries [11], better evaluation and verification systems, better awareness of environmental and societal costs and ability to address risks associated with this.

References & Footnotes


[1] Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan on the Environment http://www.asiaeec-col.eccj.or.jp/eng/e3104keidanren.html

[2] Nippon keidanren http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/pol058/outline.html

[3] FY 2008 Evaluation and Verification of the Voluntary Action Plan on the Environment Results and Future Issues http://www.meti.go.jp/english/policy/energy_environment/pdf/fy2008.pdf

[4] Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan on the Environment (Target and Measures of Major Industry Organizations) http://www.asiaeec-col.eccj.or.jp/eng/e3104keidanren_plan.pdf

[5] Japan 2008 review, IEA: http://www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/2008/japan2008.pdf

[6] Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan on the Environment (Final Report) 1997: http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/pol058/index.html

[7] Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) http://www.jacses.org/en/climate/ETS.htm

[9] Yukari Yamashita The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) 21-22 January, 2009 IEA Energy Efficiency Workshop

[10] Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan http://www.env.go.jp/en/earth/

[11] UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION, COUNCIL OF ADMINISTRATION/POSTAL OPERATIONS COUNCIL, Joint Committee 2 (Development and Cooperation) Sustainable Development Project Group Berne, 2 November 2010 (9.30–12.30 and 15.00–18.00), Heinrich von Stephan Hall

[12] Junko Edahiro, [Newsletter] Tokyo Metropolitan Government Leads Japan, Launches Own GHG Emissions Cap-and-Trade Program, JFS Newsletter No.94 (June 2010) : http://www.japanfs.org/en/mailmagazine/newsletter/pages/030080.html

[13] https://www.iea.org/work/2010/efficiency_moscow/yamashita.pdf

[14] Results of the Fiscal 2010 Follow-up to the Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan on the Environment (Summary) —Section on Global Warming Measures— Performance in Fiscal 2009 http://www.keidanren.or.jp/english/policy/2010/109.pdf


(*1) Industries have defined their targets in different ways: - improvements in the level of energy input per unit of output or CO2 emission per unit of output; - reduction in the total amount of energy used or CO2 emitted; - energy conservation measures that seek to lower energy consumption during the stage in which services are provided or products are used.

(*2) 35 industries have selected their own target indices such as gross CO2 emissions, CO2 emissions per unit, energy consumption, and energy efficiency [3] [4]

(*3) VAP is monitored and evaluated by an official expert group formed of academics, NPO and industry representatives.[13]

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