Philippine Bio-fuel Business Documentary "Ground Melts in the Sky"

December, 2013

We’ll bring you the reality that the bio-fuel business in the Philippines with Japanese investment has been threatening local residents’ life.

Documentary “Ground Melts in the Sky”

2013/ Director: Shinsuke Nakai

*English version is in progress.


Quiet farming areas have extremely changed in Province of Isabela, the Philippines since Japanese companies, ITOCHU Corporation and JGC Corporation, decided to participate in the bio-ethanol project in 2010. In Isabela, some of the land in which indigenous peoples and farmers have cultivated high productive crops, such as rice, corn and banana, for decades have been converted into sugar cane plantation for the bio-ethanol project.

Because most of the farmers don’t have their own land tenure title, some third parties have made the fake or abnormal title issued, making use of the situation. As a result, various patterns of land grabbing cases have been occurring. Additionally, some of local residents are suffering from the problems, such as the accidents related to the sugarcane cultivation and the environmental pollution of effluent from the bio-ethanol plants. The confusion is spreading among the local community.

This bio-ethanol project was initially expected as a measure against global warming and was proposed for a candidate of carbon offset mechanism, or Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), authenticated by the UN. Although the carbon offset and bio-fuel are often emphasized eco-friendly, the documentary shows that they have negative impact on the local environment and society in fact.

Profile: Director Shinsuke Nakai

Shinsuke Nakai was born in 1967 in Kyoto. From1993, he started to shoot photos of the slam of Philippines and U.S. military base in the former site and published them in newspapers and magazines. He got a prize of Asia Wave Award in 1996. He started video interviews from 1999 and published them in TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc). He stared film production about environmental issues and base issues in Asia since 2001. He got the International Human Rights Materials Encourage Business Award 2006 in “Ganbare Fanseuru.” In “Tears of Nanai” the Koenzi Documentary Festival Prize (2010), Fukui Film Festival Special Jury Prize (2010).


FoE Japan (Yanai)
TEL: 03-6907-7217 / FAX: 03-6907-7219 E-mail:
Feel free to ask for the screening held including seminar and commentary by FoE Japan or Director Nakai.