NGOs from Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan and around the world have placed a full-page advertisement in the Financial Times calling for Japanese megabanks – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and Mizuho Financial Group (Mizuho) – to stop funding coal power.
The advert comes in advance of the G20 and immediately following the announcement by three Singaporean banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB to end coal finance.
“Global banks and insurers are moving away from coal because of the financial risk and environmental damage. Japan’s banks are being left behind. Their continued funding of coal is out of line and is driving the world over the edge into catastrophic climate change,” said Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent.
“Japan has the capacity to be a global clean energy superpower. The international community is calling on Japan’s Government and financial institutions alike to live up to their promises of protecting the planet. This means ending coal finance.” said Kimiko Hirata, International Director of Kiko Network.
MUFG, SMBC, and Mizuho, along with other commercial banks and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), recently agreed to finance the controversial Van Phong 1 coal power station. This power station will produce air pollutants at rates significantly higher than the average new Japanese coal-fired power station, and is not compliant with the Equator Principles to which the banks are signatories.
The financing of coal power from these banks does not show signs of abating. Their policies do not rule out funding to new coal power, putting them behind other commercial banks in Asia – such as DBS, OCBC, UOB, and Standard Chartered – in formally addressing the need to transition to clean energy. As of February 2019, SMBC, MUFG and Mizuho were reportedly planning to financially support new coal power projects that would collectively result in the emission of 1.4 billion tonnes of CO2 over their lifetimes, including Vung Ang 2 and Long Phu 1 in Vietnam.