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Two European funds call on J-Power to disclose emissions reduction goals

By Makiko Yamazaki and Katya Golubkova

TOKYO (Reuters) -Two major European asset managers have jointly filed a shareholder resolution at Japanese electricity generator Electric Power Development Co Ltd, known as J-Power, for the second consecutive year in a row.

The asset managers are calling on J-Power, Japan's largest operator of coal-fired power stations, to set and disclose credible short and medium-term emissions reduction targets, aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Shareholder activism on climate change has been gaining momentum in Japan over the past couple of years and pressure from such proposals has prompted some policy changes at the targeted companies.

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Amundi and HSBC Asset Management filed the resolution with the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), the non-profit climate group said in a statement on Tuesday.

They also intend to vote against representative director and executive vice president Hitoshi Kanno in charge of J-Power's decarbonisation plan, the statement added.

The resolution is supported by Man Group, the world's largest publicly traded hedge fund, ACCR said. Amundi, Man Group, and HSBC Asset Management have nearly $3 trillion in assets combined under management.

J-Power "has presented no indicative schedule for retirement of its coal-fired power assets - instead presenting a plan that involves capital expenditure into speculative technology such as ammonia co-firing prolonging the life of these assets," the statement said.

The resolution comes as the Group of Seven rich nations, or G7, last month agreed to speed up renewable energy development, called for a quicker phase-out of fossil fuels and achieving 'a fully or predominantly decarbonised' power sector by 2035.

J-Power will "carefully consider" proposals and disclose its board of directors' opinions "as soon as they are determined", the company said on Tuesday.

Last year, Man, Amundi and HSBC filed a similar shareholder resolution, which they say was the first climate-related proposals by an institutional investor group to a Japanese firm. One of their proposals received support from 26% of shareholders.

Last month, a coalition of climate groups stepped up pressure on Japan's top three banks to cut financing linked to fossil fuels, filing shareholder resolutions to be voted on at the companies' annual general meetings.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Katya Golubkova; Editing by Tom Hogue, Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman)