Tell Japanese Companies: Stop Financing the Vung Ang 2 Coal Plant

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Your letter will be delivered to the CEOs of Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank:

I am writing to urge you to stop financing new coal plants and reject financing for the Vung Ang 2 coal plant in Vietnam. Our planet is literally on fire with the catastrophic bushfires in Australia, and we need you to stop fueling the flames of the climate crisis with your support for coal.

Japan’s Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi recently expressed opposition to the Vung Ang 2 coal plant saying that it was undermining efforts to address the climate crisis and triggering international criticism. According to The Mainichi, he questioned Japanese government and corporate support for the project saying, “It is nonsense that Japan is funding (the project), yet at the end of the day, China and the United States are the ones building it.”

The pace of companies exiting coal is quickening, leaving Japanese corporations and financial institutions like yours increasingly isolated in supporting this dirty and outdated technology. Last month, Hong Kong-based energy company CLP Holdings announced that it will no longer invest in new coal plants and will phase out all remaining coal assets by 2050. CLP’s announcement signaled that it would pull out of existing commitments to build the Vung Ang 2 and Vinh Tan 3 in Vietnam. Standard Chartered and OCBC, the corporate banks supporting CLP’s involvement in the project, also revised their coal exit policies and dropped their support for the Vung Ang 2 coal plant.

Your decision to continue supporting new coal plants, like Vung Ang 2, poses serious reputational risks. This past week, Greenpeace Switzerland organized actions targeting banks, including MUFG and Mizuho, for fueling the climate crisis with their financing of the fossil fuel industry. Supporting Vung Ang 2 and other coal projects will invite further international criticism and scrutiny.

Further, the financial viability of the Vung Ang 2 coal project is questionable given the falling prices of renewable energy in Vietnam. According to a recent report by the research group Carbon Tracker, it will be cheaper to build new solar PV than operate existing coal plants as soon as 2022.

In light of the climate, reputational and financial risks posed by the Vung Ang 2 coal project, we urge your companies to reject involvement in this controversial project.
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    Pressure is mounting in Japan to end support for overseas coal finance. Japan’s popular Environment Minister, who many believe will be a future prime minister, just voiced strong public opposition to Japanese financing of the Vung Ang 2 coal plant in Vietnam. He argued that the project is at odds with climate action and will invite international criticism. Now’s our moment to pile it on.

    Japanese companies Mizuho, SMBC, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank have long argued they can’t pull out of projects in which they have existing commitments. But in the last two months, three companies have pulled out of the Vung Ang 2 coal project citing climate concerns.

    Tell Japanese companies to reject financing for Vung Ang 2. Your message is critical to make sure Japan’s banks know the world is watching and to make sure they stop funding coal around the globe.