June 27, 2019
G20 Osaka Summit: Protests Call on Japan to End Coal
Giant PM Abe coal inflatable in Kobe
Citizens’ Committee on the Kobe Coal-Fired Power Plant
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Friends of the Earth Japan
On the eve of the Osaka G20 Summit, dozens of protests in Japan and around the region, are calling on the Japanese government to take effective measures against climate change and to phase-out coal.
In Kobe, near to the G20 meeting and in the shadow of a proposed coal plant, protestors unveiled a giant 4m inflatable Prime Minister Abe emerging from a coal bucket, to highlight demands for Japan to strengthen its climate change measures.
Meanwhile, in Manilla on Tuesday, Climate change activists dressed as the Pokemon character Pikachu protested outside Japan’s embassy.
“While Prime Minister Abe announced in the international community that he would take measures against climate change, coal-fired power plants are being built across in Japan, including Kobe,” said Mr. Yutaka Sasaoka, Representative of plaintiffs for the lawsuit over the coal-fired power plant construction and operation.
“Kobe Steel, the project operator ignored the voices of the residents and forced through the construction work. This is such a shame in front of the international community.”
In Kobe, Kobe Steel has been constructing a large-scale coal-fired power plant at a site just 400 meters away from a densely populated area, creating significant air pollution issues.
As Kobe Steel forcefully continued the construction work in 2018, residents filed civil and administrative lawsuits over the coal-fired power plant construction plan.
Hajime Yamamoto, Chief Researcher at Kiko Network that has been supporting the citizens’ group, stated: “With the four coal-fired power plants, the annual CO2 emissions of Kobe City (approximately 12 million tons) will be exceeded by just one company (approximately 14 million tons). Kobe Steel, the defendant of air pollution, is again trying to pollute Kobe and the earth. This is unforgivable.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who assumes this year’s G20 presidency, has declared his commitment to combating climate change. However, Japan continues to promote and fund coal-fired power plants both at home and overseas.
“The coal-fired power plants exported by Japan are causing problems in developing countries such as environmental destruction and human rights violations,” said Ayumi Fukakusa, Campaigner for Climate Change and Energy at Friends of the Earth Japan. “Especially in the last few days, as the G20 will begin, demonstrations to seek coal phase-out from Japan are being carried out one after another by the citizens in various countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and India.”
Eri Watanabe, Campaigner for 350.org Japan added: “An international signature calling on Japan, the G20 Osaka Summit presidency to withdraw from coal power has reached 80,843 signatures from around the world. Prime Minister Abe must take the voices of the citizens from the world seriously and pledge to stop supporting new coal-fired power plants to achieve the 1.5-degree goal.”
Kiko Network Kyoto Office (Hajime Yamamoto)
Friends of the Earth Japan (Ayumi Fukakusa)
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) (Hanna Song)
350.org Japan (Eri Watanabe)
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