Tokyo, Japan – A historical event will take place this week when Mizuho Financial Group faces a climate change related shareholder resolution in its AGM, first among Japanese financial institutions. Greenpeace Japan will be monitoring the issue, and calls on Mizuho as well as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC) to make new announcements about their commitments to climate measures in their AGMs, starting this week in Tokyo.

Greenpeace Japan recently published an analysis of the banks’ recently published new sustainability policies, including a comparison to leading sustainability initiatives by European banks and recommendations on strengthening their policies. The analysis showed the policies still allow financing of activities that worsen climate change, including the coal industry. (1)

Hanna Hakko, Greenpeace Japan’s Senior Energy Campaigner:

“The AGMs will be a key moment where the banks can show how committed they really are to addressing the climate crisis. Their current policies that still allow financing the coal industry do not take nearly sufficient action towards climate change, and therefore do not satisfy the expectations of civil society and many shareholders. We hope that in the AGMs, they will clarify how they will strengthen and implement the policies regarding phasing out coal finance, as well as explain how they will proceed in restricting their financing for the wider fossil fuel industry, including oil and gas.”

Last week, Greenpeace Japan protested against the banks’ coal financing in Tokyo and Frankfurt, Germany. Additionally, Greenpeace has called on major shareholders of Mizuho to vote in favour of the climate resolution, filed by the NGO Kiko Network. (2) Photos of these protests are freely available for media use here: Tokyo, Frankfurt

Greenpeace Japan has a small number of shares in each bank in order to participate in their AGMs, and is available to give comments to the media before and after the meetings.

Annual general meetings of the banks:
Mizuho: Thursday 25 June, 10 AM JST
SMBC: Friday 26 June, 10 AM JST
MUFG: Monday 29 June, 10 AM JST

In April and May, all three megabanks published new sustainability policies in which they outlined that they would refrain from financing new coal power projects in principle. However, each policy contains exceptions under which coal projects can still receive lending. Furthermore, none of the banks set any limitations on financing energy companies that are involved in the coal industry, despite increasing trends within financial institutions to restrict such financing. (3)

Greenpeace calls for the banks to close the remaining loopholes to coal project finance, start requiring decarbonisation strategies from the power companies they support financially, and to stop financing power companies that are building new coal power plants or fail to demonstrate a plan how they will decarbonise their energy production business.

(1) Greenpeace Japan briefing paper, June 2020: Japan’s megabanks at the starting line with new coal policies: https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-japan-stateless/2020/06/5511346a-revised_final_bp_20200603_coal-finance_eng.pdf

(2) Kiko Network: https://www.kikonet.org/eng/press-release-en/2020-03-16/mizuho_shareholder_proposal

(3) BankTrack: https://www.banktrack.org/page/zzz_list_of_banks_policies_on_coal_utilities