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Yokosuka Coal Power Plant , Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan


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[1] [3].

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 [3].

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 [1]. There are many elementary and junior high schools near the power plant within 5 km, as well as medical facilities and leisure facilities[2].

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[2]. 

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," [4]

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) .

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Yokosuka Coal Power Plant , Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
State or province:Kanagawa Prefecture
Location of conflict:Yokosuka 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:Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details

AsHiroko Tabuchi reported in February 2020 in The New YorkTimes [5] "Japan relies on coal for more than a third of its power generation needs. And while older coal plants will start retiring, eventually reducing overall coal dependency, the country still expects to meet more than a quarter of its electricity needs from coal in 2030. Japan’s appetite for coal doesn’t solely come down to Fukushima. Coal consumption has been rising for decades, as the energy-poor country, which is reliant on imports for the bulk of its energy needs, raced to wean itself from foreign oil following the oil shocks of the 1970s. Fukushima, though, presented another type of energy crisis, and more reason to keep investing in coal."

Description {3]. A 1.3GW coal-fired power plant is under construction at the former Yokosuka thermal power station site near the port of Kurihama, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Yokosuka is one of the 22 new coal-fired power plants planned to be built in Japan by 2025 and it is the only coal-fired facility being constructed in Japan’s Greater Tokyo area. The Yokosuka coal-fired power plant is being developed by Japan’s Energy for New Era (JERA), a 50:50 joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and Chubu Electric. Construction on the 1.3GW Yokosuka coal-fired facility was started in August 2019, while the two new units are scheduled to come online by 2023 and 2024, respectively. [3].

New Unit 1 with 650,000 kW

New Unit 2 with 650,000 kW

Ultra-supercritical pressure power generation (USC) No

carbon capture and storage system (CCS)

New Unit 1 scheduled to start operation in 2023 New Unit

2 scheduled to start operation in 2024

Emissions per year of about 3.5 to 4 million tons of CO2 for each unit of 650 MW [2]. The figures opponents use is 7.6 million tons per year for both units together. Also pollution from sulphur dioxide etc.

Level of Investment for the conflictive projectPerhaps 3,000,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:about 3,000 households
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:JERA Co., Ltd. from Japan
Relevant government actors:METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:KIKO Network

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights


Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The CFPP is already under construction but there are law suits still pending.

Sources & Materials

[1]JBC. (2020). Yokotsuka-Japan Beyond Coal. Retrieved from

[3]Description of the project, from the industry's point of view.

[4] Redflag Paper. (2020) Victims Eligible for plaintiffs Yokosuka coal-fired proceedings argued by residents Tokyo District Court. Retrieved at

[5] The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi went to Yokosuka, Japan, to examine a controversial decision to invest heavily in coal. Feb. 3, 2020

[2 ]Yokotsukaclimatecase. (2021)Whatwewant. Retrieved from

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Citizen Survey

Residents Oppositions

4 Years Campaign on Coal Reduction in Tokyo Bay

Kanagawa News

Meta information

Contributor:Environmental Justice Japan
Last update04/01/2021
Conflict ID:5356



Mothers Protesting

Mother's Association Protesting against power plants (Source: from facebook page of the study group for Yokosuka Powerplants)


Yokosuka Citizens in Kanagawa Prefecture, protesting against construction of two 650,000 kW coal-fired power plants (Source No Coal Japan)


Yokosuka citizens are conducting trials against the country (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) (Photo from NO-COAL-JAPAN)

power plants

Construction of the power plants (source: facebook page of the study group for the Yokosuka power plants)