Today in front of the National Diet Building, civil society organizations from Japan as well as other countries organized a protest, demanding Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe to take greater action on climate change.

The world has been paying close attention on how Japan as G20 chair will display its leadership. Among a variety of global issues, Prime Minister Abe showed his particular interest in climate change to work on, stating in Financial Times in September, 2018  that Japan will take its initiative to combat climate change. Furthermore, the Japanese government is now formulating its long-term strategy on climate change by the G20 in June.

While not a few countries have been moving away from coal power, Japan continues to promote it in both Japan and other countries, and this has been criticized by the national as well as international community. Today on April 18, there was even an advertisement included in Financial Times by the international civil society, calling Prime Minister Abe to show his leadership on climate change countermeasures, and Japan to move toward coal phase-out.

Board member of Kiko Network, Kimiko Hirata stated, “the impact of climate change has become quite notable even in Japan. Developed countries such as the U.K. and Canada have been moving toward coal phase-out, but Japan has been severely criticized by the international community for being the biggest supporter of coal power. The Japanese government began formulating a long-term strategy based on the Paris Agreement, but without a policy to completely shift away from coal, Japan’s long-term strategy will be totally inadequate. Prime Minister Abe should listen to the voices of the international community as well as  Japan, and formulate an ambitious long-term strategy to display his true leadership and move toward coal phase-out.

 Susanne Wong from Oil Change International says : “Japan is one of the largest providers of government support for fossil fuels among G20 countries. Ten years ago, the G20 committed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. It is time for the G20 act on this commitment to phase out government support to fossil fuels”.

Hatae Hozue from Friends of the Earth Japan claims, “the impact of climate change is not the only negative outcome that Japan’s export financing for coal power generates. At the sites of coal-fired power plant projects that Japan finances, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, local residents have been facing a number of serious problems that we cannot ignore, including oppression from the government, human rights violations and loss of their livelihoods. Quality Infrastructure is also one of the agenda for Japanese government, but exporting infrastructures which accelerate climate change and destroy peoples’ live should be immediately stopped.”

Joojin Kim from Solutions for Our Climate, South Korea says : “South Korea has been providing enormous financial support to coal-fired power plant projects just like Japan, but due to serious need to act on air pollution, now there is a nationwide demand to remove coal power from the country. Export financing for coal power has been criticized at the Korean National Assembly, by politicians from both the governing party and the opposing party. South Korea and Japan together will be able to greatly contribute to this international movement by providing its technologies on renewable energy and energy efficiency.