MUFG says to stick with some coal lending, even as green pressure mounts

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc won’t completely stop financing for coal-fired power plants, even as external pressure has forced it to tighten its lending policy, the chief executive of its main banking unit said. Like its rivals, Japan’s biggest lender is coming under more pressure from global investors and environmental groups over its ties to coal. A shareholder proposal last month called on MUFG to outline how it will align its business with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to a copy seen by Reuters. Smaller rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc is considering halting new financing for any coal-fired power plants, without exceptions, Reuters previously reported. However, MUFG is unwilling to abandon lending to “transition projects” that could become more environmentally friendly down the line, Junichi Hanzawa told Reuters in an interview on March 26 that was embargoed for release on Tuesday. “Realistically, it would be very difficult to eliminate all financing of transition projects, given Japan’s energy situation,” Hanzawa said. Despite pledges to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris agreement, coal remains a mainstay for Japan. It accounts for around a third of the energy supply mix, a Ministry of Economy,… continue reading

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