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POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Japan
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Japan's Mitsui hints on curbing loans for coal-fired power projects

It mulls over tightening its financing policy.

Bloomberg reported that Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. has signaled it may rethink its financing of coal-fired power projects, a small step for the nation’s banking industry, which lags global rivals shifting away from one of the most-polluting fuels.

The Tokyo-based bank indicated this week that it may become the first major Japanese bank to tighten its stance on such funding. “Coal-fired power generation is relatively low cost and has a big impact on climate change, so we are considering to make our financing policy stricter,” President Takeshi Kunibe told reporters during an earnings briefing on Monday.

Japanese firms have lagged efforts across global finance to align their businesses with climate change goals. Sumitomo Mitsui and its two main domestic rivals remain among the world’s biggest funders of coal power projects, according to transparency advocacy group BankTrack, even as a growing number of global lenders move away from the practice. HSBC Holdings Plc said last month it will stop funding new power plants using the fossil fuel, joining similar pledges by Societe Generale SA and Deutsche Bank AG.

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