PRESS RELEASE: Japanese Parliamentarians Urge an End to Investment in the Batang Coal-Fired Power Plant

PRESS RELEASE: Japanese Parliamentarians Urge an End to Investment in the Batang Coal-Fired Power Plant

JAKARTA/ TOKYO: Parliamentarians from two Japanese opposition parties have lent support to Indonesian community representatives in Tokyo to protest a $4 billion coal-fired power station planned for Batang, Central Java.

Ms.Mizuho Fukushima, an ex-minister who lead the Social Democratic Party for a decade up until last year, arranged a meeting on Wednesday for Roidi and Taryun, two representatives of the Batang district villages of Karanggeneng and Ponowareng. The Indonesians met with the Ministry of Finance and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation to express community opposition to plans by a consortium of Japanese companies to build Southeast Asia’s largest coal-fired power plant on their land.

“Ms. Fukushima emphasized to JBIC and the Ministry of Finance that Japanese agencies and companies must honor the principles of human rights and environmental protection in all foreign investments,” reported  Arif Fiyanto, Greenpeace Indonesia’s Climate and Energy Campaigner, who is accompanying the two villagers on their Japan mission.

“In addition, she observed that given the community opposition and since there is no such thing as clean coal, this investment must be cancelled, in order to maintain good relations between the two countries,” said Arif on Friday (12/09).

During the meeting Hirofumi Oishi, External Affairs Director for JBIC, and Kazunori Ogawa, Deputy Director for Power and Water Financing at JBIC, said they would take into account community opposition, and the positions of the Government of Indonesia and the companies involved, before deciding whether to continue supporting the Batang project.

Ms. Fukushima is not the only Japanese parliamentarian concerned about Japan’s involvement in the Batang power plant project. Mr. Naoto Sakaguchi, Director-General of the  International Department of the Restoration Party of Japan has also expressed his surprise at the plans for Batang, and vowed to lobby JBIC and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Sakaguchi said the investment would not only be detrimental to the people of Indonesia, but would also damage Japan’s standing in the international community.

Hozue Hatae, Campaigner of Development Finance and Environment  of Friends of The Earth (FoE) Japan, who is co-hosting the Indonesian delegation, expressed his organisation’s support for the Batang community. “The goverment and JBIC must heed the voices of local farmers and fishermen who will be directly affected by the project, rather than listening only to Japanese companies. We join the parliamentarians by calling for JBIC to immediately end financial support for this power plant.

Media Contact:

Arif Fiyanto, Climate and Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Indonesia, arif.fiyanto@greenpeace.org, +62 811 1805 373

Wahyu Nandang Herawan, Lawyer of Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation, wahyu.nandang@ylbhi.or.id, +62 85 7272 217 93

Hozue Hatae, Campaigner of Development Finance and Environment Team of Friends of The Earth (FoE) Japan, hatae@foejapan.org, +81 3-6909-5983