In Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, in Tokyo Bay, construction of two 650,000 kW coal-fired power plants (1.3 million kW in total) is underway. The operator is JERA, Japan's largest thermal power generation operator, in which TEPCO Fuel & Power and Chubu Electric Power have invested. The plan is to build a new coal-fired power plant on the land where the oil-fired power plant was originally located, and the environmental impact assessment has been shortened based on the "Replacement Guidelines." However, it has been pointed out that "shortening or bypassing the assessment" is a problem because the CO2 emission factor is increasing due to the conversion of fuel from oil to coal .
In the Tokyo Bay area, plans to construct large coal-fired power plants have emerged in Ichihara, Chiba, and Sodegaura since 2013. Since the opposition movements by local residents started in each region in 2017, the "Tokyo Bay Association for Coal-Fired Power" was launched in collaboration with the four regions. In addition to submitting more than 4,000 signatures to JERA, protests were held in front of the scene on the 7th of May, 2019 .
After that, due to the results of the activities of local residents, the CFPP (coal-fired power plants) for Ichihara, Chiba, and Sodegaura were canceled, but only the Yokosuka plant remained, and full-scale construction began on August 1, 2019. The citizens of Yokosuka play a central role and the people who have been campaigning against coal-fired power in the Chiba are also protesting against the plan of Yokosuka as the Tokyo Bay Association.
In addition, 48 plaintiffs, mainly Yokosuka citizens, are launching court cases against the country (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) that issued a definitive notice in the procedure for environmental assessment of the project filed in May 27, 2019. Fishermen who live in the sea of Yokosuka also participate in the plaintiffs, and it is reported that seaweeds and fish and shellfish have decreased sharply due to the rise in the temperature of the sea in Yokosuka, and the actual situation that major damage due to climate change has already occurred . There are many elementary and junior high schools near the power plant within 5 km, as well as medical facilities and leisure facilities.
However, the power plant has already completed the environmental assessment process and began preparatory work for construction in May 2019.
According to the plaintiffs, one of the reasons for the lawsuit is the installation of coal-fired power plant against the commitment towards Paris Agreement to reduce emission by 2030.
Moreover, at the planned power plant site, eight power plants that originally used heavy oil or gas (initially coal but later fuel conversion) were in operation. However, since 2004, with some exceptions, there has been a period of abolition or long-term plan suspension. Although part of the operation restarted after the Fukushima nuclear accident, then all units have been shut down again since 2014. In advancing the new Units 1 and 2 plan, JERA bypassed the procedures of environmental assessment based on the "improvement replacement" rationalization guidelines by using the premises of the existing old power plants, formulating a condition where CO 2 and air pollutant emissions are suposed to be reduced. This allowed the operator to shorten the environmental assessment by more than one year from the normal period. However, the Yokosuka Thermal Power Station was originally shut down, that is, it did not emit any CO 2 or pollutants. Since a new power plant will start operating there, it cannot be said that CO 2 and air pollutants will be reduced. The condition of "improvement replacement" does not really apply and the environmental assessment cannot reasonably to be allowed to bypass this.
In addition, the content and evaluation of CO 2 reduction measures for newly built power plants environmental assessment was flawed. Another serious problem is that using coal as the fuel from the beginning and did not consider other fuels that emit less CO 2 and air pollutants. Furthermore, the evaluation on the effects of air pollution and hot effluent from the operation of power plants were not evaluated sufficiently.
Attorney Nobuo Kojima, the plaintiff's defence counsel, pointed out global warming and air pollution caused by carbon dioxide emitted by coal-fired power generation, and a decrease in fish catch due to warm wastewater. Regarding global warming, he described the damage caused by the heavy rains in western Japan and the rapid increase in heat stroke patients as "unprecedented" and claimed that all the victims were eligible as plaintiffs. The attorney argues "This power plant emits 7.26 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is 1 / 5,000 of the world's total and 10% of the 2016 total in Kanagawa Prefecture," The citizens are waiting for court decision and the local NGOs are promoting the awareness of the coal-fired power plants and participation in the movement is gaining its momentum to this date (January 2021) .