Three years have passed since the launch of Japan Beyond Coal, and the discussion over coal-fired power generation in Japan has changed dramatically.

Kenji Fuma

CEO, Neural Inc. / Adjunct Professor, Shinshu University

Previously, the continued existence of coal power used to be taken for granted. But then, the Japanese government has decided to reduce the number of low-efficiency power plants under its policy. 

The remaining challenge is on coal-fired power plants with higher efficiency. The phase-down of coal-fired power plants, without exceptions, is now the sound course for the entire world. Even in emerging markets, governments no longer stick to a roadmap to sustain coal-fired power plants. The phase-out of coal-fired power plants is one of the major policies of GFANZ (Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero), a global coalition of leading financial institutions that committed to accelerating the decarbonization of the economy. Nippon Life Insurance became the first Japanese major financial institution to ban project financing for higher-efficiency coal-fired power plants, though there is an exception for brownfield projects. 

The summer of 2023 was the hottest in the world’s entire recorded history, and the threats of natural disasters are also increasing. Concerns about food security due to climate change are also growing rapidly. While people in many countries suffer from high energy prices, the International Renewable Energy Agency announced in August that the worldwide cost of power generation in 2022 was cut down by 76 trillion yen owing to renewable energy. It is convincing that committing to time-bounded phase-out of coal power plants is needed in order to accelerate more investment into energy transition.


Kenji Fuma is a founder and CEO of Neural Inc.
He is also an ESG Financial and Sustainability Management Advisor, and a member of committees in the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
His clients include Tokyo Stock Exchange prime-listed companies and major financial institutions. Kenji also serves on advisory boards of numerous start-up companies and venture capital firms. He often provides commentary for television, radio, newspapers, and web media.
Published books: 『ネイチャー資本主義』(PHP新書)、『超入門カーボンニュートラル』、ESG Thinking (Kodansha), Understanding with data how the Earth will be in 2030 (Nikkei Book), others.