Divestment is generating increasing national attention in Japan, especially after the rallies in Tokyo and Kyoto leading up to the UN climate negotiations that drew 2,000 people and gained national press.

In February, 350 Japan announced findings about investments and financing by Japanese banks, insurance companies, universities, public and private pension funds, and municipalities in domestic firms connected with fossil fuel and nuclear power. The team released these findings in response to the Japanese Environment Minister approving construction plans for coal-fired power plants — after months of denying the plans would be approved.

Through our research, we found that the largest investors in the fossil fuel and  nuclear power industries in Japan are Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust. In the coming months, 350 Japan will continue to draw attention to these major investors in fossil fuel and nuclear energy. We will promote the divestment movement in Japan by spreading awareness about the importance of ecologically responsible investment throughout the country. We will roll out an individual “divestment pledge” and encourage people to sign on to the movement.

We will be launching a Change Your Bank campaign in Japan later this year. This type of campaign has been very successful in countries like Australia, so the team is researching fossil-free banks that make sustainable investment choices (i.e., “Green Banks”).

The 350 Japan team is also pressuring local governments to divest from fossil fuels. Our first target is Shibuya, a progressive ward of Tokyo. The Shibuya Mayor has agreed to take part in a climate change dialogue at the Earth Day Tokyo event scheduled for April 23, 2016, and 350 Japan is planning a number of public seminars in cooperation with Shibuya ward ahead of this event. Through these seminars, we expect to present divestment as a unique solution to climate change and promote the idea to the Shibuya Mayor while appealing to a public audience.