Japanese campaigners organize ‘Our Money and Our Responsibility’ symposium to end investments in cluster munitions

On 15 March, Cluster Munition Coalition-member the Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL), organized a conference to put an end to investments in cluster munitions. The symposium, titled “Our money and our responsibility” was attended by a full room of participants.

As the June 2016 update of PAX’s ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions; a shared responsibility’ shows, five Japanese financial institutions jointly invested US $1.63 billion dollar in producers of cluster munitions between June 2012 and April 2016. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial even ranks amongst the top-10 investors in the so-called Hall of Shame – it invested US $774 million.

Four speakers addressed the issue of explosive investments in cluster munitions producers. At the symposium, Mr. Seiji Kawazoe from Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank talked about the bank’s cluster munitions exclusion policy. SMTB is the first and to date only Japanese financial institution to feature in the runners-up category of the ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions’ report. Other speakers were Professor Takeshi Mizuguchi from Takasaki Economic University, who talked about the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investments (UNPRI) and presented some best practices of pension funds who excluded cluster munitions, and Mr. Shigeru Tanaka, secretary general of the Pacific Asia Resource Centre (PARC), who spoke about global civil society movements on disinvestment as well as the Japanese Fair Finance Guide – an awareness raising tool that rates banks on their sustainability policies and investment practices. Ms. Motoko Mekata spoke on behalf of ICBL.

Japan has joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Unlike 28 other countries that are part of the Convention, Japan has not stated it considers investments in cluster munitions to be banned under the treaty. The Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines stated it will remain committed to pushing for an end to investments in producers of cluster munitions by Japanese financial institutions.

The next update of ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions; a shared responsibility’ will be published on 23 May 2017.