(Check against delivery)Japan welcomes that this grand meeting is being held today, gathering distinguished representatives from many countries. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a dramatic improvement in energy access around the world. The number of people without access to electricity has decreased from 1.2 billion in 2010 to 840 million in 2017. More actors than ever before are actively working on the critical issue of energy access, which has contributed to this dazzling result. However, addressing the remaining 840 million people without access to electricity is still a pressing issue. The international community as a whole should accelerate its efforts to achieve energy access for all by 2030.
It remains a vital task to increase on-grid power generation and to improve transmission and connectivity. Further promotion of investment and financing, harnessing public-private cooperation, is required. For its part, Japan is funding the development of quality energy infrastructure through a number of activities such as the JBIC Facility for African Investment and Trade Enhancement. Addressing technical developments is also important. Japan supports the development of clean energy, including in the field of geothermal power generation, in which Japan holds strong technological advantages. Furthermore, we are leading technological development and international collaboration on hydrogen, which has the potential to play a major role in the future of clean energy.
At the same time, it is also important to improve distributed energy systems, which include expanding the generation capacity and connectivity of off-grid energy and mini-grids. It is also important to develop and promote new approaches to deliver power which are more accessible to all. For example, a Japanese start-up supported by JICA launched an LED lantern rental service in Tanzania which provides innovative power supply solutions.
Next month, Japan will host the G20 Osaka Summit. As holder of the G20 presidency, Japan will lead discussions on further development assistance for developing countries, including in the energy sector. In particular, given our past commitments in the G20, we would like to discuss measures to further enhance energy access.
The role of innovation is also an important topic in relation to energy and climate change. Making use of global fora such as the G20, Japan will deliver its determination to create a virtuous cycle of environment and growth, embracing the pivotal role of innovation to contribute to the well-being of the entire global community.
In addition, Japan, together with other organizations including the United Nations, will convene the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) in Yokohama from August 28th to the 30th. This event will be a great opportunity to further enhance the momentum of the international community's efforts to improve energy access in Africa.
Japan will continue to contribute to the improvement of energy access for all, together with the international community.
I thank you.