Under the scope of a signed memorandum of understanding BHP and JFE will study technologies and pathways that could help increase efficiency and reduce emissions from the blast furnace and direct reduced iron routes to making steel.
Raw materials will be put under the microscope with a focus on iron ore pre-treatment and the use of enhanced iron ore lump, high quality coke and DRI.
The partnership follows BHP's other efforts to cut emissions across the value chain, which include the US$46 million collaboration with Chinese steelmaker China Baowu and awarding its first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier contract.
Using LNG-fuelled vessels could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% each voyage.
BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said the work would support and help progress Japan's carbon neutral ambitions by 2050.
She said the steel industry was expected to move through stages of optimisation and transition for the existing integrated steelmaking route before reaching an end state of low or no carbon intensity.
"Our investments are focused on actions that can create real change, and we continue to take positive steps on our climate agenda and in collaborating with others to help reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals," Pant said.
JFE president and CEO Yoshihisa Kitano said raw material processing technology was extremely important in the research and development towards carbon neutrality.
"We have a long history working closely together with BHP collaborating to study raw material utilisation technology and mine development," he said.
"It is very significant for us to be able to work together with BHP towards reduction of CO2 emissions, which is an extremely important agenda for the steel making sector."