It is no secret that Japanese banks are the top lenders for the global coal industry, funding the acceleration of the climate crisis worldwide. 2021 marks a critical year for Japan as the government looks to revise its energy policy (it does so every three years), just a year after Japan pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. This policy will determine how much fossil fuels and renewables are invested in, as well as how much the country updates their targeted Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris Agreement.

In short: A strong, clear energy policy will save the lives of millions and deliver a glimpse of climate justice to frontline communities. A weak policy that pays lip service will continue not. 

To push the Japan government to divest from dirty energy, Japan has led the “Four Critical Years: Act Now! Protect Our Environment and Future” (or Ato4Nen) campaign, urging the country to introduce more ambitious energy policies. Already, more than 142,000 signatures have been collected, and 183 non-profit organizations, activist groups, no nuclear organizations, renewable energy companies, workers corps and even corporations have joined the campaign, demonstrating a groundswell of support toward a just recovery.

In the dual crises of COVID-19 and the climate emergency, a strong mandate for the government will encourage financial institutions such as Japan’s three megabanks who top the list of global coal lenders to introduce aggressive coal divestment policies.

We urge all of you to join us as the tides turn and our voices rise higher than the sea levels. Sign the petition and call on Japan’s government to divest fossil fuels for a just recovery. The petition will close on April 20. Japan will send the petition and messages from the 142,000 climate activists to Prime Minister Suga, and the Ministers for Economy, Trade and Industry; Environment; and Administrative Reform on April 22, as Japan joins US President Joe Biden’s Climate Summit. 

On 22 April, our wave of activism will appear in the form of youth activists from Fridays for Future. Together we will take to the streets to march for the climate, calling on a Just Recovery for all. 

Whether you are in Japan, or joining us in spirit, don’t forget to sign the Ato4Nen petition.

And if you are keen to know more about our Japan campaigning work where it concerns the largest lenders of coal, join us at the Global Just Recovery Gathering

“When it comes to putting pressure on the government to do the right thing, we think it is important to involve as many people as possible. We invited intersectional groups instead of just environmental groups as we are all in this together,” said Takayoshi Yokoyama, Japan team lead. “We also invited activists to join us from the beginning of the campaign, so that everyone is strongly engaged and in it for the long haul.”