In 2018, Japan experienced many extreme weather events, including heat waves, intense rain and flooding. If climate change continues to worsen, the negative impacts on human life will become increasingly severe.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants are one of the major drivers of climate change. Despite this, many coal-fired power plants are still being built in Japan. Plans are moving ahead for the construction of two very large coal plants in the densely populated southern part of Kobe City, where two coal plants are already in operation.

If built, these new plants will emit enormous amounts of harmful air pollutants, with serious health impacts on local residents. They will also negate efforts to fight climate change by emitting huge amounts of CO2emissions. But there are no regulatory tools in Japan to stop coal plant construction. Despite opposition from residents in the region who have suffered from air pollution for years, construction plans for these two new plants were submitted to the government in the summer of 2018.

So the residents of Kobe City launched two court challenges. One calls for an injunction to prevent business owner Kobe Steel Ltd., its subsidiary Kobelco Power Kobe No. 2 Inc., and Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. from building and operating the new units. The other calls for a judicial review to determine whether or not the national government has violated legislation by failing to control and stop this plan through legal procedures and standards, and for permitting the plan to go ahead despite an insufficient assessment of environmental impacts.

These court challenges launched by Kobe residents are driven by a strong desire to protect our children’s future by preventing air pollution, preventing climate change, and shifting to sustainable energy.

Overview of planned generating units

The Kobe Steel Power Plant Project is a plan to build two new power generating units just 400 meters from the residential area of Nada-ku in Kobe. Schools and hospitals are located nearby. Already in May 2018, the national government’s environmental impact assessment process was completed, and construction plans were submitted the summer that year.

Fuel Coal
Output 1,300 MW (650 MW × 2 units)
Technology Pulverized coal, ultra-supercritical (USC)
No carbon capture and storage technology
Planned start Unit 3: Planned operation start 2021
Unit 4: Planned operation start 2022
Location 2, Nadahamahigashi-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture