Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japan, South Korea run with VN coal plant despite climate vows

Japan, South Korea run with VN coal plant despite climate vows

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The coal plant has come under international criticism and even divided opinion within Japan's government. AFP

Japan, South Korea run with VN coal plant despite climate vows

Japan and South Korea are pushing ahead with a controversial coal plant in Vietnam and will provide $1.8 billion in loans for the project, despite having announced ambitious pledges to become carbon-neutral on their home turf.

The state-aligned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) said it will lend around $636 million to the Vung Ang 2 project in central Vietnam, which has come under international criticism and even divided opinion within Japan’s government.

Private financial institutions and the Export-Import Bank of Korea will also provide loans, with the total amounting to $1.77 billion, JBIC said on December 29.

The 1,200MW Vung Ang 2 plant was first proposed over a decade ago and has received investment from heavyweight firms like Mitsubishi Corporation.

Japan said in July it would tighten rules for investment in foreign coal-fired power stations on environmental grounds, but stopped short of promising to end government funding for projects or axe existing ones.

The country also recently unveiled plans to boost renewable energy and phase out petrol cars in a bid to reach its new goal for carbon neutrality by 2050. South Korea has also made a similar pledge this year.

Vung Ang 2 came under fire in May when 127 environmental groups from around 40 countries signed a petition calling on all the Japanese parties involved – reported to include big private banks – to pull out of the project.

“It’s a real disappointment,” Eri Watanabe from 350.org, which signed the May petition, said on December 30 about JBIC’s announcement.

She said: “It shows the Japanese government is not very serious about complying with the Paris agreement and mitigating CO2 emissions.”

The Global Energy Monitor watchdog last year said Japan accounted for over $4.8 billion in financing for coal power plants abroad – particularly in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Japan’s environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi has also raised concern over the country’s financial support for the project.

“To me, this is wrong . . . as we are facing a lot of criticism from the international community,” he said in January. “I want to change Japanese policies to those that can further contribute to decarbonisation.”

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Hun Sen’s rare visit to Cuba: What’s going on?

    Back on August 17, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would deliver a speech at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the UN headquarters in the US’ New York City, visit Cuba and attend the state funeral of the slain Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo