On June 20, Energy Transition Coalition, a Ukrainian Environmental NGO coalition, sent letters to 6 Japanese companies that have continued buying Russian fossil fuels after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, namely JFE Steel, Nippon Steel, JERA, TEPCO, Chubu Electric Power, and Hokkaido Gas. The letter demands all the companies stop all fossil fuel imports and promote renewable energies.
Japanese support for Russian fossil fuels is significant. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) released a report finding Japan was the largest coal importer and the third-largest LNG importer in the world in the first 100 days of the invasion.
Revenues from Fossil Fuels Enable Russia’s Military Buildup and Brutal Aggression against Ukraine
According to the letters from the Ukrainian coalition, more than 14.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, while tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. Enormous damage to infrastructure such as medical facilities and kindergartens have been reported, and it is expected that Ukraine’s GDP will drop 30 to 50%.
The revenues from fossil fuels is the key enabler of Russia’s war crimes, atrocities, and occupation. According to CREA’s report, Russia earned EUR 93 billion (JPY13 trillion1) in revenue from fossil fuel exports which were record-high in the first 100 days of the war (February 24 to June 3). This report revealed the far too slow responses from governments and corporations, as well as contradictions in their responses; appealing for support for Ukrainians while purchasing fossil fuels and providing financial support to Russia.
Japan is Financing Russia’s war
Japan was the largest Russian coal importer and the third-largest LNG importer in the world in the first 100 days of the invasion, purchasing EUR 1.9 billion (JPY 250 billion) worth of fossil fuels from Russia.
Japan has generously supported Russian fossil fuel projects through public and private institutions. From 2018 to 2020, Japanese public finance institutions provided $4.8 billion (JPY 528 billion2) for fossil fuel projects in Russia. Also, from January 2019 to November 2021, Japan’s three largest banks ranked in the top 15 financial providers for Russian fossil fuel companies.
The Japanese government announced the phase-out of Russian coal in April and then crude oil in May. According to CREA, while Russian crude oil imports were suspended after mid-April, coal imports continued till May. Moreover, LNG is still being imported on a large scale.
The imports of Russian fossil fuels by the 6 companies are estimated as follows:
The Japanese government and companies, particularly JFE Steel, Nippon Steel, JERA, TEPCO, Chubu Electric Power, and Hokkaido Gas, should immediately stop importing fossil fuels and shift to renewable energies. The Japanese government committed to end new public support for international fossil fuels as part of the G7. Japan could start by immediately ending all imports of Russian fossil fuels.The time to stop financing Russia’s war is NOW!
- EUR1 = JPY142.93
- USD1 = JPY110 (Average of 2019)