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The Japanese government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) state that they will consider providing JICA’s loan for the construction of the Indramayu coal-fired power plant (1,000 megawatts) in West Java once the Indonesian government makes a request to Japan. This might happen by early 2021 as the Indonesian government plans to complete the construction by 2026.

This Japanese “assistance” will destroy the livelihoods of local farmers, such as rice and vegetable fields. The loss of farmland means death for peasants. They are also concerned about health damages due to their experience of air pollution from the existing coal plant in Indramayu. The farmers have fought to protect their environment and society for more than 4 years through peaceful demonstrations and lawsuits, despite threats, harassment and criminalization by Indonesian authorities.

This coal power plant will also impose an unreasonable burden of unnecessary infrastructure and stranded assets especially on the future generations amid global climate crisis as well as the oversupply of electricity in Java island.

Please sign on the petition to request the Japanese government and JICA not to support the construction of the Indramayu coal-fired power plant in Indonesia!

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Re: Japanese Government Must Not Support the Indramayu Coal-fired Power Plant Expansion Project in West Java, Indonesia

We are writing to call on the Japanese government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) not to support the expansion of the Indramayu coal-fired power plant (1,000 MW) (hereinafter, the “Project”) in West Java, Indonesia.[1] The local community[2] as well as the international community[3] have long expressed concern and strong opposition to the Project.[4] There are mainly 6 reasons why this coal power plant must not be constructed as below;

(1)  The Project will destroy or adversely affect the livelihoods of thousands of local farmers and fishermen because the power plant will be constructed in the middle of farmland and along the fishing grounds.[5] The tenants and day laborers have been growing their rice, vegetable and fruits all year long for hundreds of years. When the season comes, the small-scale fishermen catch the small shrimp called “rebon” along the coast. Monetary compensation and livelihood restoration programs, such as livestock-raising and skill-training, even if provided, are not sufficient to restore their livelihoods and thus not a true solution[6];

(2)  The Project will expose the local community to a higher risk of health damage.[7] The power plant will not use any of the BAT (best available technology) that are installed in most of the coal-fired power power plants in Japan even though the power plant will emit air pollutants, including SOx, NOx and PM2.5[8];

(3)  The Project has failed to ensure appropriate consultation and sufficient information disclosure with local farmers and fishermen. They will be heavily affected by the Project but were not invited for any consultation to prepare an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report.[9] Likewise, there was no appropriate participation by affected peasants in the planning of the Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP).[10] These defective processes are clearly illegal under the Indonesian laws[11] [12];

(4)  The Project has caused serious human rights violations and has threatened the freedom of expression at the local level. Several farmers who have voiced opposition to the Project became victims of criminalization, or were accused of false charges and put in jail for 5 to 6 months.[13] According to the Indonesian law, the Indonesian government must protect farmers who try to protect the environment, but it failed to do so[14] [15];

(5)  The Project is not necessary for the Java-Bali electrical grid which has been pointed out to have excessive power supply. The Indonesian government’s plan[16] also indicates that the reserve margin in the grid will be 30 to 45 % till 2028. Given the severe impact of COVID-19 on the economy, growth in electricity demand will also slow down. If the Project is pushed through with JICA’s loan, Indonesian state-owned electricity company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) or Indonesian government will have to repay this loan for decades for such unnecessary plant. This means an unreasonable burden on the future generations;

(6)  The Project entails the risk of becoming a stranded asset[17] because it is necessary even for developing countries to completely stop the operation of coal-fired power plants by 2040 to achieve the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals.[18] It is obvious that the building of this power plant, even with high efficiency or ultra-super critical (USC) technology, is inconsistent with the Paris goals[19] and must not be allowed in order to tackle the climate crisis and make a credible transition toward a decarbonized society. Furthermore, if the Project is pushed through with JICA’s loan, PLN or the Indonesian government will have to pay back for decades for such stranded asset.This means an unreasonable burden on the future generations again.

The Project must not be pushed through at the expense of the livelihoods and environment of the local community, or in exchange for future generations’ opportunities and choices, and global climate. In addition, the Project does not align with the policies of the Japanese government and the JICA Guidelines for Environmental and Social Considerations (the Guidelines) as described in the footnotes. We strongly demand that the Japanese government and JICA not finance this coal plant for the Indramayu community and future generations in Indonesia and the world.

Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI – FoE Indonesia)
WALHI West Java
Friends of the Earth Japan Japan
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Kiko Network, Japan
Mekong Watch, Japan