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Kobe City Fight Against Coal, Japan

The Kobe 1,300 MW project is one of many new power stations burning coal being planned or built. It is challenged by lawsuits. One alternative is to increase the use of LNG or solar electricity.


As reported in  Nikkei Asian Review (21 Nov 2018) [9],"in Japan's port city of Kobe, a pair of 150-meter high white chimneys tower over the bay. Located just beside a residential area only 15 minutes by car from the city center, the chimneys belong to a giant 1.4-gigawatt coal-fired power plant that is about to loom even larger over residents' lives. Brushing aside protests from environmentalists and locals, plant owner Kobe Steel started construction last month on a huge expansion project that will double the size -- and the emissions -- of the Kobe Power Plant. More than 14 million tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants are expected to belch each year from the enlarged plant's chimneys by 2022 -- more than the entire CO2 emissions of the 1.5 million-strong city of Kobe.".

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kobe City Fight Against Coal, Japan
State or province:Hyogo Prefecture
Location of conflict:Kobe City
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country 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:Manufactured Products
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Kobe Coal-Fired Power Plant, naming Kobe Steel Ltd., Kobelco Power Kobe No. 2 Inc., and Kansai Electric Power

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Level of Investment:1,909,936,800(2)
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:1,500,000
Start of the conflict:21/06/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) from Japan
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
City of Kobe
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kobe Coal-Fired Power Thinking Group
Kobe Pollution Patients and Family Association
Nishiyodogawa Pollution Patients and Family Association
Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Pollution Area Revitalization Center (Aozora Foundation)
NPO Climate Network
NPO Global Environment Citizens' Conference (CASA)
Kobe Steel Coal-Fired Pollution Problem Nada Ward Liaison Committee
Citizen network to think about coal-fired power generation problem
Hyogo ECO Club
Ashiya Citizens' Association to Think about the Problem of Expanding Shinko Coal-Fired Power Generation
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The court cases have not been decided.
Sources & Materials

(2)関西電の電力調達落札者、神戸製鋼所に決定 (Kansai Electric Power Procurement Successful Bid, Kobe Steel Decided). (2015, February 16). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from
[click to view]

(7)神鋼火力発電所建設巡り 周辺住民が国を相手取り提訴 (in English Residents in the vicinity filed a lawsuit against the government over the construction of Shinko Thermal Power Station). (2019, March 05). Retrieved September 18, 2020, from
[click to view]

(5)Citizens' Committee on the Kobe Coal-Fired Power Plant. [Action Report] Action before the General Meeting of Shareholders of Kobe Steel (2019/6/20)
[click to view]

(8)Table Shizenha. (october 25, 2019). Table([Summer vacation trial hearing] Hearing Kobe's "coal-fired power generationproceedings"). Retrieved September 18, 2020, from
[click to view]

[9] Nikkei Asian Review, Why Japan finds coal hard to quit. Addiction to coal-fired power undermines Tokyo's green credentials. ERI SUGIURA and AKANE OKUTSU, Nikkei staff writers. NOVEMBER 21, 2018 (excellent survey).
[click to view]

(3)Kobe Climate Case. What we want. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from
[click to view]

(4)February 6, 2019 (Kobe Shimbun) Kobe Steel power plant lawsuit: Government shows fighting stance in oral arguments in Osaka District Court
[click to view]

(6)神鋼発電所巡る訴訟 住民が初弁論で差し止め求める(in English Proceedings over Shinko power plant residents seek injunction in first argument). (2019, March 04). Retrieved September 18, 2020, from
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Sun-Tv, Japan
[click to view]

Kobe News
[click to view]

Other documents

Kobe residents marching to enter the court Regarding the coal-fired power plant under construction by Kobe Steel, the Osaka District Court held the first argument of a trial in which local residents were seeking the cancellation of the notice permitting the installation of the coal-fired power plant. (photo credit to Sun-TV.Japan)(6)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Environmental Justice Japan
Last update21/09/2020
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