Environmental campaigners target Japan’s dirty energy plan on the eve of G7 Summit in Hiroshima

Fossil Fuels5.22.2023

Friends of the Earth Japan
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
350.org Japan
Fridays For Future Hiroshima

Activists stage a series of 50 stunts in 20 countries to pressure Japan to stop fueling climate change and derailing the global energy transition

May 18th Hiroshima – Around 15 Japanese and international environmental groups organized an action featuring masks of G7 leaders and an inflatable gas pipeline on the eve of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima. Activists demanded that G7 countries, especially Japan, end its financing and reliance on fossil fuels and support the global transition to renewable energy. 

The Hiroshima action was one of roughly 50 actions organized in 20 countries as part of a global week of action to stop Japan’s dirty energy strategy. Activists united under the hashtag #JapanLovesDirtyEnergy and included the following countries: Japan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UK, Ukraine, the United States, and Vietnam. The actions highlighted significant backlash not only from the G6 but also from the Global South against Japan’s policies which are derailing the transition to renewable energy across Asia and globally. 

While the climate crisis worsens with the window to respond closing rapidly, Japan continues to proactively push for the development of fossil fuels such as coal and gas. Maintaining a 50% chance to limit global warming to 1.5°C requires an immediate end to investments in new coal, oil and gas production and LNG infrastructure. To meet this goal, advanced economies like the G7 must phase out coal by 2030. However, at the G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in April, no specific target year for coal phase-out was specified. Japan, as the host country, should listen to climate science and the international community, and pledge to abolish coal-fired power generation by 2030.

Despite last year’s G7 commitment to “end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022," Japan approved financing for a new gas project in Uzbekistan and is pushing for new gas investments at the G7. From 2020 to 2022, Japan was the second largest provider of public finance for fossil fuels,  second only to Canada among G7 countries.

Additionally, Japan is promoting fossil-based technologies such as the co-firing of ammonia, hydrogen, biomass, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) in thermal power plants under the guise of decarbonization. However, these technologies are costly, unproven and will not reduce emissions at the scale needed to avoid the very worst impacts of the climate crisis. Japan’s promotion of these technologies is prolonging the use of fossil fuels across Asia.

The roughly 50 actions organized across 20 countries, including the action in Hiroshima, demonstrates the strong global opposition to Japan’s energy and climate policies.  Prime Minister Kishida, who touts himself for his “listening ability," should listen to the growing global opposition and take meaningful action to phase out fossil fuels. This includes ending all international public finance for fossil fuels including gas, committing to coal phaseout by 2030 and ending its promotion of fossil-based technologies like ammonia and hydrogen co-firing at thermal plants, LNG/gas and carbon capture and storage.

Here are quotes from activists from all over the world;

Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) and convenor of the Asian Energy Network (AEN)

We simply cannot allow Japan and the rest of the G7 to derail our fight for a rapid, equitable and just energy transition, and lock us in the era of fossil fuels. New fossil gas investments means huge losses for our communities in Asia.

Gerry Arances, Executive Directer of Center of Energy, Ecology and Development 

Japan can claim all it wants that its push for gas is to promote energy security and economic development in Asia, but its true energy agenda can’t help but shine through: to cling to its fossil fuel obsession while forcing others to do the same. Japanese institutions, including government-owned JBIC, are responsible for the biggest amount of financing for gas in Southeast Asia post-Paris Agreement. In the Philippines, Japan is driving us away from a swift energy transition while acting as culprit to the looming destruction of the biodiversity hotspot Verde Island Passage – our Amazon of the oceans – by supporting gas and LNG projects in its vicinity. It’s bad enough that Japan fueled coal’s proliferation in the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the last decade; we won’t let it steal our 100% renewable energy future for the second time with gas.

Dwi Sawung, Campaign Manager for Spatial Planning and Infrastructure of WALHI / Friends of the Earth Indonesia

G7 countries that are financing international energy transition schemes, like Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), must make sure that funds do not go towards false solutions like gas, carbon capture and storage, oil and gas refineries, and co-firing (ammonia, hydrogen, biomass). These technologies are not in line with the 1.5 degree Paris agreement. The funds should go towards saving people and the planet from climate change, not big corporations. The G7 also must make sure that people, who are affected by climate change and/or projects supported by energy transition schemes like JETP, do not suffer harm. All JETP projects must be transparent, accountable and inclusive to eliminate corruption and make sure funds are not misdirected.

Susanne Wong, Asia Program Manager of Oil Change International

Activists are mobilizing across 20 countries for a global week of action to stop Japan’s dirty energy strategy and expose Japan’s dirty G7 presidency. Prime Minister Kishida is using Japan’s G7 presidency to benefit Japanese corporate interests over the health and security of people and our planet. Japan must stop derailing the global energy transition by pushing for the expansion of fossil gas and other dirty fossil-based technologies. Prime Minister Kishida and other G7 leaders must uphold and strengthen their commitment to end public finance for all fossil fuels and shift investment to renewable energy. This is the surest path to peace and security.

Friends of the Earth Japan Development Finance and Environment Campaigner Hiroki Osada

Japan is pushing for fossil fuel expansion saying it is a “realistic” way of decarbonization because of little renewable energy potential in Asia. This argument cannot be more wrong, since Asian countries including Japan have vast amounts of renewable energy potential. Japan’s self-interested, corporate-driven decarbonization strategy for Asia is not only irrational in terms of energy security, economic cost, financial risk, and emissions reduction, but also isolates Japan itself and exposes it to worldwide criticism, as vigorously manifested in today’s civil actions across the world. 

Masayoshi Iyoda,  Interim Team Leader of 350.org Japan

The G7 Hiroshima Summit is a rare opportunity for Prime Minister Kishida to declare a farewell to fossil fuels in order to protect climate and peace. Japan’s addiction to fossil fuels not only deprives us of opportunities such as creating green jobs, improving air quality, and reducing energy costs, but also hinders decarbonization in Asia and Africa and contributes to Russia’s war efforts. At the G7 Hiroshima Summit, it is imperative that Prime Minister Kishida presents a peaceful and just transition to phase out fossil fuels and achieve 100% sustainable renewable energy, as demanded by citizens both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, immediate action must be taken after the summit to review the Basic Energy Plan and consider more ambitious emission reduction targets and policy measures.

Roger Smith, Japan Director at Mighty Earth 

Japan loves dirty energy, and it’s clear it wants to push the other G7 nations into prolonging this relationship to benefit well-connected Japanese companies.It’s falsely claiming to be a climate leader, committed to a 'green transformation,’ that is nothing but a green rebranding of dirty technologies to extend the life of fossil fuel infrastructure. Japan’s craving for wood biomass to burn for electricity is destroying old growth forests in North America and putting wildlife populations at risk. Even worse Japanese policies are locking other Asian countries into this false climate solution. It’s time for Japan to end its bad romance with dirty energy.


Friends of the Earth Japan (Ayumi Fukakusa) Email:fukakusa@foejapan.org
Friends of the Earth Japan (Hiroki Osada) Email: osada@foejapan.org
Oil Change International (Tomomi Shibata) Email: tomomi@priceofoil.org


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