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Akita coal-fired power project, Japan

Japanese corporations cancel plans for some coal-fired power plants while the grassroots continue to campaign against them.


Under the joint project with a subsidiary of Marubeni Corp., Kanden Energy Solution was planning to build two coal-plant units with a combined capacity of 1.3 gigawatts at Akita Port and start operating them in 2024 [3]. Each unit would emit 4.33 million tons of Co2 annually.[4] There has been strong opposition from the civil society organizations such as No coal Japan, Japan beyond coal and Kiko network and many environmental organizations on the revival of coal-fired power in Japan. Besides the public campaigns, divestment campaigns and putting pressures on the ministry of the environmental agency, there have been several cases of cancellation, withdrawal of investments in the building of new coal power stations. On April 27, 2021, Kanden Energy Solutions and Marubeni Clean Power Co., Ltd. announced that they would cancel the study of the Akita port Thermal Power Plant (tentative name) construction plan that was being jointly considered. According to the Kiko network, the annual CO2 emissions emitted by this project were expected to be 8.66 million tons.[6].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Akita coal-fired power project, Japan
State or province:Akita prefecture
Location of conflict:Akita City
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details

This plan has been conducting an environmental assessment since 2015, saying that a coal-fired power plant (650,000 kW x 2 units, 1.3 million kW in total) will be built at Akita Port[1]. Kansai and Marubeni had planned to construct two coal-fired power plants in Akita city, targeting the commissioning of the 650MW No.1 unit in March 2024 and the 650MW No.2 unit in June 2024.[2]

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Level of Investment:2,701,364,400
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/01/2015
End of the conflict:27/04/2021
Company names or state enterprises:Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) from Japan
Marubeni Corporation from Japan
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kiko Network
No coal Japan.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Japanese coal-fired developers continue to face difficulty in building new coal-fired power plants because of growing environmental awareness and support for sustainable and responsible investment. Japanese banks, including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking have announced plans to move away from supporting coal-fired power projects domestically and overseas. [2]
Sources & Materials

[5]日本経済新聞社 (2021, April 27). 丸紅など秋田の石炭火力新設断念 地元「やむを得ず」. 日本経済新聞.
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[1]【ニュース】秋田港の発電所建設計画が中止 日本の新規計画がゼロに. Japan Beyond Coal 石炭火力発電所を2030年までにゼロに. (2021, June 8).
[click to view]

[2]Kansai, Marubeni scrap Akita coal-fired power project. Commodity & Energy Price Benchmarks. (2021, April 27).
[click to view]

[3]Last planned coal plant project in Japan scrapped amid green push. The Asahi Shimbun. (2021, April 28).
[click to view]

[4]Japan Beyond Coal 石炭火力発電所を2030年までにゼロに. (2021, June 30).
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[6] Kiko Network, press release, 8 August 2019. Construction of Akita Port coal-fired power plant postponed: The plant should be cancelled in context of the global exit from coal.
[click to view]

[5]. Kiko network. [Press Release] Welcoming an end to the consideration of the coal-fired power project in Akita: A complete cancellation is necessary, not a fuel switch to biomass (2021/4/27)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Environmental Justice Japan
Last update03/07/2021
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