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

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese