On the 31st of March, climate activists showed up at the Japanese Embassy to demand that the Prime Minister Abe reject plans for Japanese governmental funding of the planned Batang coal burning power plant in Indonesia. For four years Indonesian activists have stopped the plant and defended the land at the price of arrests and human rights violations. No bank will touch it, so now funding is being sought from the Japanese government.
The fact that Indonesian people have been able with protest and direct action to make the Batang plant a project no bank will fund means they have literally turned it into the Huntingdon Life Sciences of coal and fossil fuels. For four long years the people of Central Java have defended their land and refused to leave. They have done so in the face of arrests, violent threats, and numerous human rights abuses which in turn have enmeshed the entire project in controversy that has apparently driven away commercial banks. When people stand strong and refuse to leave their homes for Big Business, any bank lending to their enemies risks being seen by depositors as funding arrests and human rights violations. That in turn can draw protest, civil disobedience, and divestment campaigns against the offending banks themselves.
The efforts to get government to step in where the banks will not is also a page from the HLS campaign, where the UK government opened a special bank account for a vivisection lab after all banks refused to let them open an account. The government of Japan must not be allowed to do even worse by using money stolen from Japanese taxpayers many who oppose this project to fund it outright. On the same day the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Climate First!, and Oil Change International showed up in front of the Japanese Embassy, there were protests in Japan, Indonesia, and elsewhere.