Japan’s overseas coal projects provoke mass protest in Indonesia


Thousands of people gathered outside the Japanese embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia on 11 May to demand an end to Japan’s dirty coal investments in the country.

Japan is not only building almost 50 coal-fired power plants on its own soil, it is the number one public financer of coal plants overseas. Between 2007 and 2014 Japan invested more than $20 billion into overseas coal projects, and it plans to spend billions more.

Like Japan, Indonesia is defying global coal decline trends and has set upon a dangerous path of building new coal plants, amounting to 45GW, some of which are funded by Japanese finance, including the highly controversial flagship project – the 2GW Batang power station in Central Java. If built, these plants would lead to an estimated 28,300 deaths of Indonesians yearly, according to a report by Harvard University and Greenpeace. The world’s second-largest coal-exporting country, Indonesia is suffering from the global downturn in demand for coal imports.

The protest on 11 May in Jakarta was part of the Break Free From Fossil Fuels two-week long global action to keep fossil fuels in the ground. From Wales and Germany to Turkey and Australia, people gathered on 4–15 May across the world to confront the fossil fuel industry.

Photo credit: Greenpeace Indonesia.