25 Japanese financial institutions seeking to establish Japanese version of ‘Principles for Environmental Financial Action’ have finally revealed its own draft proposal at 22 February. It was announced by a working group formed by several institutions and showed at their 4th meeting. Surprisingly, they changed the title of the principle from initial ‘Environmental Financial Action’ to ‘Sustainable Financial Action’. And showed 6 basic principles. Those principles are said new ones but its meanings of contents are something mixtures both PRI and UNEP FI. Actually, this movement among Japanese financial institutions are chaired by Mr. Takejiro Sueyoshi who is a special adviser for UNEP FI. But UNEP FI itself has not involved this local movement.
They have declared to reach official agreement of adoption of the principle based on the draft, by 16th March of the next meeting. But There are some continuous doubt over the movement why Japanese financial institutions only need their original version of the action principles, in spite of there are already several famous international ones, like PRI, UNEP FI, Equator Principles and Global Compact.
It might be said that this movement have been led and funded by the Ministry of Environment, not by Mr Sueyoshi personally. Also what the Ministry leads and funds it should be said to form a cheering party for them to compete with the Ministry of Economy,Trade and Industry over getting initiative of environment and energy policies in Japan. In general, pushing environmental policy forward seems to be better, but we must point out that there are some threats that financial institutions in Japan may use the local rules as some kind of excuse to not accept international standards. We are now very much interesting with seeing a result of the movement whether it would establish functional principles or completely redundant. (FGW)