Japan Allows U.S. Ethanol Access to 100 Percent of Biofuel Market

Lindsay Mitchell

Mar 31, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICMB |  Ethanol

Today, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) released its final proposed rule for partial amendment of the Act on Sophisticated Methods of Energy Supply Structures that allows the country to further contribute to its climate targets through consumption of lower-carbon ethanol and, for the first time, will allow U.S. ethanol to successfully access 100% of the Japanese biofuel market. The proposed rule would remain in place through 2028.


picture collage of japanese trips and meetings about ethanolThis action follows a September visit from technical experts and a February visit from IL Corn farmer leaders and Senator Tammy Duckworth, both to Japan. The group worked with Japanese Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, formerly a member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and later Mayor of Chicago, to meet with Japanese officials and to answer questions about U.S. corn-based ethanol.


As a result, Japanese regulators revised the U.S. corn ethanol carbon intensity score that allows U.S. ethanol to fully access the entire bioethanol market - up from 66% access in 2021 based on continued improvement in reduction of carbon emission by the U.S. ethanol industry.


“IL Corn is pleased to see action following a mission to Japan, though it is important to note that this change is the result of years of engagement and information sharing with the Japanese government. Thank you to Ambassador Emanuel for working with his team to help the Japanese government obtain the technical information they needed to properly evaluate how U.S. ethanol could help the Japanese meet their climate change goals. Sen. Tammy Duckworth also helped considerably, sharing her perspective on energy security and diversifying fuel sources. These and other partners gave us the momentum needed to enact positive change for U.S. corn farmers,” said Rodney Weinzierl, Executive Director of IL Corn.


In a combined statement, U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor and Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said:


“The U.S. ethanol community applauds the Japanese government for joining other countries in recognizing the role ethanol can play in the global effort to address climate change at the same time it takes steps to decarbonize its transportation sector. Countries around the world are recognizing that biofuels like ethanol are a simple, inexpensive and effective solution they can deploy today to help them lower their carbon emissions and meet their climate goals. We will continue to work closely with Japan and other nations to find more ways for us to collaboratively decrease carbon emissions. The U.S. ethanol industry will engage with Japan on additional ethanol consumption efforts both within the on-road and sustainable aviation sectors as the country implements its new regulation.”