Energy / Climate Change

December 25, 2006


Court Orders Central Gov't to Disclose Information on Corporate Energy Use

Keywords: Energy Conservation Government Manufacturing industry NGO / Citizen Policy / Systems 

On October 5, 2006, the Japanese District Court in Nagoya ordered the government to disclose information on the consumption of electricity and fuel at four manufacturing facilities: Nagoya Works of Nippon Steel Corp.; Yokkaichi Complex of Tosoh Corp.; and two factories (in Yokkaichi and Shiojiri) of Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. This judgment was delivered on one of three lawsuits filed against the national government by Kiko Network, a non-governmental organization ("kiko" = climate), seeking disclosure of reports on energy use in fiscal 2003 submitted by major businesses.

Under the Law concerning the Rational Use of Energy, large-scale facilities are required to report their annual consumption of electricity and fuel to the government. In 2004, Kiko Network requested that the government disclose the fiscal 2003 reports submitted by Type-1 facilities (the largest emitters), but reports for 753 facilities, or 15% of the total, were not disclosed. Considering these data essential to measures against global warming, the network called on the government to reverse its decision not to disclose information on those facilities and filed three lawsuits, as model cases, in the district courts in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo in 2005. In the case of Nagoya, the network asked for disclosure of data on nine manufacturing facilities under the jurisdiction of the Chubu Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The ministry had initially insisted that the disclosure would undermine the competitive advantage of the relevant businesses, but in May 2006 when the suit was still pending, the government reversed its nondisclosure decision concerning five of the nine target facilities in the Nagoya lawsuit. Furthermore, the reports from 326 additional facilities nationwide have been disclosed since July 2006. Including some facilities disclosed before then, data on a total of 340 out of the original 753 facilities are now open to the public.

It has now become clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from about 200 large facilities, including those whose data have not been disclosed, account for more than half of Japan's total CO2 emissions. The Kiko Network expects that the legal victory in Nagoya will add momentum to future efforts to fight global warming.

Posted: 2006/12/25 06:58:51 AM
Japanese version