June 27, 2019

People Demand G20 Confront Climate Emergency with Action

Politicians gathered in Japan must begin the urgent shift from coal and fossil fuels now

TODAY – Osaka (Japan) –  Protestors across Asia joined with 80,843 people signing online as the G20 Summit opens, calling for urgent action on the climate crisis as a priority. The call was particularly focused on the host country Japan.

“Japan as host of the G20 could be a leader. But leadership is not just hospitality it also requires action. A country that has private and public banks funding coal here and across the world cannot be called a climate leader.” Takayoshi Yokoyama, 350.org Japan’s team leader said.

“Contrary to any common sense, financing for new coal, oil, and gas projects has been on the rise since the Paris Agreement.  We see this here in Indonesia and we call on the politicians to turn this around and to tell citizens across the world how they’re going to do so.” Sisilia Dewi, Indonesia Team Lead at 350.org said.

Across the region people have been protesting in the front of Japanese embassies to demand that Japan shows real leadership as G20 Chair, including by stopping finance to coal plants, with thousands more signing up online, and almost 1,000 Japanese citizens having pledged to shift their private bank accounts away from financial institutions that support coal, oil, or gas.

Prime Minister Abe of Japan has said he would like the G20 summit to focus on ‘innovative’ solutions to climate breakdown, and has called for a ‘great push’ toward a sustainable future 

“The real ‘innovative’ solution to climate breakdown is to stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere, that means we must stop funding coal and other fossil fuel infrastructure. The ‘great push’ we need is to push coal, oil, and gas out of our energy and finance systems. A talkfest about dream future technologies is nice but the solutions we can do today are already here – less talk and more action on shifting away from coal is what’s required.” Takayoshi Yokoyama, 350.org Japan’s team leader added.

On June 26, there were simultaneous all-women actions in 5 Asian countries – Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. In the Philippines, the action in front of the Japanese Embassy was led by the group Oriang.

Flora Santos, president of Oriang Women’s Movement in the Philippines, stressed that these actions seek to out a spotlight on Japan as one of the biggest sources of coal and fossil fuel finance:

 “The Japanese government is the host and Chair of the June 2019 G20 Summit and it promises that climate change will figure prominently in the agenda.  And yet, Japanese public institutions and private companies have been playing a huge role in the expansion of coal and fossil fuels.”

At Kobe, less than one hour by train from the G20 summit venue in Osaka, protesters unveiled a giant 4m inflatable Prime Minister Abe emerging from a bucket of coal in front of the Kobe coal-fired power station to call for climate leadership and an end to coal funding from the Japanese Prime Minister.

Going into the meeting civil society groups have called on governments to urgently address “climate risk” – companies and their financial backers fuelling climate change through continued fossil fuel development while those assets may become stranded as renewables leap frog fossil fuels. 

Local Japanese activists used the meeting to present a petition calling for much stricter regulation and controls on Japanese banks and the finance industry, even as several of the larger banks in the region announce policies to limit lending to coal

“These protests are often colourful and funny but they are extremely serious. More and more people are following the lead of the young climate strikers and taking to the streets to call for real climate action. The demand for the end of coal, oil, and gas is only going to get louder in the ears of Prime Minister Abe and his guests.”  Takayoshi Yokoyama, 350.org Japan’s team leader said.

The G20 will meet in the face of growing evidence of climate breakdown, and unprecedented global climate activism as the Climate Strike movement aims for 3 million people to take action on September 20th.


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For more information see:

The No Coal Japan campaign


Yasuhiko Seki, 350.org Japan, Tel: +81-90-4752-7020, Email: japan.comms@350.org