HONG KONG/SINGAPORE/TOKYO -- For Japan and its big banks, investing in coal-fired power plants has appeared to be a surefire way to profit from Southeast Asia's explosive economic growth. Along with the nation's development agencies, Japan's banks have pumped billions of dollars into coal plants across Asia in recent years, from Vietnam to Indonesia. Their investment logic was clear: Coal would give developing nations the plentiful, cheap power they needed to grow.
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