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Japanese Bank's Involvement in Human Rights Violations

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Japan - Table 1 below shows the name, country of origin, investing companies, and summary of negative impacts of four development projects that Japanese NGOs have pointed out contain serious human rights violations.

Table 1: Four Projects Overview

Project Name (Countries)

Investing Companies

Summary of Human Rights Issues

Batang Coal-fired Power Plant (Indonesia)

J-POWER, Itochu Corporation

Security guards, gangs, military and police threatened local people. National Human Rights Commission recommended improving the situation.

Boggabri Coal Mine Project (Australia)

Idemitsu

A court case on indigenous land rights was filed. Free, prior and informed consent have not been obtained from indigenous peoples.

Coral Bay Nickel Project (Philippines)

Sumitomo Metal Mining, Mitsui & Co, Sojitz

Traditional decision-making methods of indigenous peoples were ignored. An armed group threatened local people and discharged carcinogens have caused health damage.

Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Development (Myanmar)

Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp., Sumitomo Corp.

The project authorities threatened local people and protestors were wrongly arrested.

 

Table 2 below shows the five largest Japanese banks’ amounts of loans and investments in nine companies that invest in the projects listed in Table 1:

Table 2: Japanese Private Financial Institutions’ investment amount list

 

Mitsubishi UFJ FG

Mizuho FG

Sumitomo Mitsui FG

Resona HD

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust HD

Total

Loan

2,348,662

1,984,797

1,194,874

7,605

445,115

5,981,053

Issuance

284,870

237,799

160,067

0

0

682,736

Shareholding

284,482

194,579

106,823

929

520,618

1,107,431

Bondholding

2,500

2,655

3,110

0

3,298

11,563

Unit: Million Yen

Mitsubishi UFJ FG, Mizuho FG and Sumitomo Mitsui FG have not obtained the “free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)” by indigenous people – a clear break between their own policy and its implementation. Although Sumitomo Mitsui Trust HD adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Global Compact as its investment policies, their commitment to both was not adequately implemented. Finally, due to the fact that Resona HD did not perform well enough in the baseline assessment to receive a score whatsoever, they have no gap between policy and its implementation.

Based on this research, we recommend two courses of action for Japanese banks. First, they should establish or enhance policies, due diligences and engagements with the companies they invest in. Second, they should withdraw their loans and investments from companies who do not respect human rights.

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