Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Suga announced a 2…
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Dec. 4, 2020. Suga announced a 2 trillion green fund to promote innovation and technology to achieve his pledge to achieve a carbon free society by 2050.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged $19.2 billion toward achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050.

He made the remarks Friday during wide-ranging news conference that came a day before the Japanese parliament – the Diet – ends its legislative session, as is customary.  Suga told reporters his proposal marks a big step forward in environmental investment for the country.

He also announced a nearly $10 billion investment in digitalization including research and development for wireless communications technologies supporting cellular data networks.

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese leader said he would be introducing an economic package next week to help individuals and businesses recover and repair the economy from the coronavirus’s devastating effects.  

As for a vaccine, the prime minister referenced “a few ongoing clinical trials in Japan and overseas,” some of which are in their final stages.  

“Safety and efficacy will be the biggest priorities. We are making the utmost effort in preparation, to deliver the vaccinations that will be approved for those in need," he said Friday.

Suga also said he would like to work closely with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

 “(The) Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomatic security and is the very foundation of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the international community,” he said, noting he would like to arrange a U.S. visit as soon as possible.

Suga took office on Sept. 16, pledging to carry on policies of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who resigned due to health problems.