Thousands of activists from around the world – in Japan, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, the US – have mobilized during the last week to protest Japan’s continued financing of coal worldwide.
In addition to the in-person actions, over 80,000 people signed a joint petition calling on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end Japan’s government-backed financing of coal projects. The petition was organized by SumOfUs, 350 Japan and Oil Change International. Activists have also protested the inaction of G20 governments more broadly on ending fossil fuel subsidies, to which they committed a decade ago.
Activists gathered in Kobe, Japan to demand #G20 chair, Japan, to make bold policy changes & help solve the climate crisis. An international petition was signed by 80,843 people calling on PM Shinzo Abe @JPN_PMO to show climate leadership & stop financing coal. #NoCoalJapan pic.twitter.com/FZAueCHw8d
— 350 East Asia (@350EastAsia) June 27, 2019
The campaign gained a slew of international media coverage from outlets like the Washington Post, Reuters and AP through compelling visual actions. This included a demonstration today on the streets of Osaka with activists clad in masks representing the G20 leaders, with Prime Minister Abe and President Donald Trump handing out coal to signify their governments’ failure to meaningfully confront climate change.
On the opening day of the G20 Summit in Osaka, environmental activists organized an action in Osaka wearing G20 leaders’ masks and holding baskets of coal#NoCoalJapan | https://t.co/l3IJGnHWbp pic.twitter.com/Kgmli0dukJ
— NoCoalJapan (@NoCoalJapan) June 28, 2019
Yesterday, in front of a coal plant, activists in Kobe, Japan – just across the bay from Osaka, where the G20 Summit is taking place – unveiled a giant inflatable version of Prime Minister Abe sitting atop a bucket of coal. The actions in Japan were organized by Kiko Network, JACSES, Friends of the Earth Japan and 350 Japan.
Local citizens and environmental groups are protesting this week, calling on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to take effective measures against climate change and stop funding coal! #NoCoalJapan
— NoCoalJapan (@NoCoalJapan) June 27, 2019
And on June 26th, members of the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development protested against Japan’s continued international coal finance at Japanese embassies in Indonesia, Philippines, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Several were all women actions organized under the banner “Women Rise for Climate Justice.” Market Forces also organized an action at the Japanese Embassy in Canberra to protest against Japan’s coal finance. And, protesters gathered near the site of the controversial planned Yokosuka coal plant just outside of Tokyo to urge the Japanese government to end its support for coal.
One of the highlights earlier this week was a march of the Pikachus across from the Japanese Embassy in Manila organized by 350 Pilipinas.
— 350 dot org (@350) June 25, 2019
Beyond the actions and creative visuals, the week was kicked off with the release of a report cataloguing G20 government subsidies for coal, which showed that Japan is one of the biggest providers of international coal finance. The report, published by Oil Change International, the Overseas Development Institute, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, garnered critical attention in the Guardian and Financial Times.
The global movement against Japan’s coal finance – including the international No Coal Japan coalition – continues to grow and will continue to intensify with the Tokyo Olympics approaching next year.