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Japan has approved a plan to help finance a long-planned coal-fired power plant in Vietnam, despite the government’s pledge to limit foreign investment in more polluting technologies and reduce emissions in the country.

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The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has agreed to provide $ 636 million in project finance for the Vung Ang 2 plant in central Vietnam, it said in a statement on Tuesday. declaration. The loan is co-financed with private banks, as well as with the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

The movement has collected criticism from environmental activists for contradicting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 and stricter conditions for investing in coal projects abroad. Firms in Japan and South Korea, which have a similar climate goal, have faced backlash from investors for working on the controversial project.

“This project was planned quite a long time ago, but it clearly shows that Japan’s commitment to carbon neutrality is not being put into practice,” said Kimiko Hirata, international director of Kiko Network, a group based in Japan. Japan which promotes climate-friendly policies. .

JBIC said in its statement that it was working with Vietnam on decarbonization efforts, without going into details. JBIC decided to back the Vietnamese project after relevant ministries held discussions and concluded that it would be in line with government policy, according to a spokesperson.

Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corp. and Korea Electric Power Corp. are among the companies investing in the 1.2 gigawatt Vung Ang 2 power plant, despite pressure from shareholders to stay away from the project.

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