Mr. Yoshihisa Kitano
President and CEO
JFE Steel Corporation

2-2-3 Uchisaiwaicho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011

Dear Mr. Yoshihisa Kitano,

My name is Natalia Lytvyn and I’m the coordinator of the Energy Transition Coalition which unites Ukrainian environmental NGOs, associations and municipalities. For more than 100 days already we, Ukrainians, are living in the state of a full-scale war.

The Russian war against Ukraine shows Moscow’s colonial ambitions in their most horrible form: full-scale invasion, war crimes, denying the right of Ukraine to exist as an independent state. The war is a logical continuation of Russian policy of the last decades and even centuries.

More than 14.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes, while tens of thousands of civilians have been killed. The Russian attacks completely destroyed cities like Mariupol in the south, Bucha in the north and Popasna in the east of the country. Atrocities uncovered in territories that were under Russian occupation have all the characteristics of a genocide of Ukrainian people. Meanwhile, the Russian armed forces are still occupying and controlling parts of Kherson, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions, as well as the Crimean peninsula.

After three months of the full-scale war, infrastructural damages are enormous: 23,800 kilometers of roads, 621 kindergartens, 295 bridges, and almost 1,000 healthcare institutions and factories have been bombed and destroyed. Ukraine’s real GDP is expected to drop by 30-50% this year and the cost of rebuilding the country after the war is estimated at USD 1 trillion.

Japan is financing Russia’s war

Russia’s economy is largely funded on fossil fuel exports, with 45% of Russia’s total federal budget coming from oil and gas sales. Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov has stated that the additional income from the export of fossil fuels this year will be spent in part for the “special operation” in Ukraine. In other words, Putin can run his war only due to his reliance on fossil fuel exports to countries like Japan. 

Japanese public and private institutions are deeply entrenched in Russian coal, oil and gas. From 2018 to 2020, Japanese public finance institutions provided $4.8 billion for fossil fuel projects in Russia. Japan’s three largest banks all rank in the top 15 financiers of Russian fossil fuel companies as well. 

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) estimates that during the first 100 days of Russia’s invasion, Japanese firms imported EUR 1.9 billion (JPY 250 billion) worth of fossil fuels from Russia. This sum breaks down into EUR 893 million for LNG, EUR 513 million for coal, and EUR 494 million for oil. Out of all countries, Japan was the largest importer of Russian coal, and the third largest importer of Russian LNG. The country’s share of Russia’s total exports was over 10% for both coal and LNG.

While we welcome the Japanese government’s decision to ban Russian coal and phase out Russian oil, we want to note that the phase outs have yet to take place, save for companies such as Eneos and Kyushu Electric Power. Meanwhile, Russian fossil fuels continue to enter Japan.

JFE Steel Corporation needs to stop importing ALL Russian fossil fuels

On this note, we, Ukrainian environmental NGOs, urge you to ban any and all imports of Russian fossil fuels, including LNG, and divest your interests in Russian fossil fuel companies. The time to stop profiteering from the pariah state that attacks and kills innocent people is NOW. 

We also urge JFE Steel Corporation to recognize that fossil fuels in general are prone to geopolitical conflicts and price volatility, and consider investing more in cleaner, safer renewable energy sources going forward. Last month, the Japanese government, as part of the G7, committed to end new public support for international unabated fossil fuels by the end of this year, and to achieve a predominantly decarbonised electricity sector by 2035, indicating the limited future of fossil fuels. 

We know that JFE Steel Corporation has during the 100 days of war in Ukraine imported Russian coal with a value of EUR 42.8 million (JPY 5.6 billion), with the latest arrival on May 22nd, making JFE Steel Corporation the largest Russian coal buyer in Japan. JFE Steel Corporation has had nine shipments since the outbreak of the war, the highest in Japan. It is also one of the 15 global corporations identified by CREA to have continued purchasing Russian fossil fuels in May. We ask JFE Steel Corporation to join the increasing number of private companies exiting business with Russia, and announce an immediate end to your reliance on Russian fossil fuels. We would like to discuss with the company’s representatives the concrete steps you are taking to stop the purchases of Russian fossil fuels and also present our thoughts on the war we are living through.

Please let us know your response to this letter by June 27th, 2022 at the very latest.

Text of the letter: JFE Steel_20.06.2022


Підготовлено у рамках проекту «Зміцнення мережі ГО «Ekonet» в питаннях охорони клімату і довкілля в Східній Європі і Центральній Азії» при фінансовій підтримці «Хліба для Світу»,  а також за підтримки Фонду ім. Гайнріха Бьолля, Бюро Київ — Україна у рамках проекту «Адвокація механізмів підтримки ВДЕ-генерації в умовах війни».