Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images)

Australia's thermal coal industry and its colossal carbon emissions are increasingly looking like an unwanted guest in a global economy that can't wait for it to leave.

New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pledge this week for Japan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is another signal that Australia's climate denialist government, and the fossil fuel industries it is committed to backing, are out of touch with its major trading partners as well as basic science.

But the commitment was only a continuation of a retreat from fossil fuels by Japan that belies the argument of coal advocates in recent years that its withdrawal from nuclear power will mean it needs more Australian coal.