Global Environment

Statement on Climate Change by Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister of the Environment

April 9, 2001

Today I talked with Mr. Kjell Larsson, the Swedish minister of the environment, and representatives from Belgium and the European Commission. It was a meaningful meeting in which we had productive discussions in a friendly atmosphere. At the beginning of the meeting, I expressed my appreciation for the active role that the European Commission has played in bringing progress to international negotiations through its visits to major countries.

Through our meeting today, my European colleagues and I confirmed the common views we share on the following points. First, Japan and the EU share concern about the pronouncement made by the U.S. President George W. Bush on not supporting the Kyoto Protocol. Second, according to the Third Assessment Report of IPCC, climate change is a matter of urgency and the developed countries have the responsibility of taking the lead in addressing it. Third, the Kyoto Protocol already contains tools that would enable cost-effective reduction of emissions and create economic opportunities. Fourth, Japan and the EU remain committed to their goal of realizing the entry-into-force of the Protocol no later than 2002, which would represent the fruit borne through no less than ten years of endeavors by the international community. Fifth, the U.S. participation is extremely important in ensuring the effective implementation of the Protocol and in strengthening global actions to combat climate change. Therefore, both Japan and the EU will continue to urge the U.S. Administration to reconsider its position on the Protocol. Finally, we agreed that Japan and the EU should keep close contact with each other.

I also informed my colleagues in the EU that the Japanese government is undertaking preparation for the establishment of a domestic regime that will enable it to fulfill its commitment made under the Protocol. Furthermore, I reported the following actions that Japan has taken recently with regard to the U.S. position. First, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori sent a letter to U.S. President, Mr. Bush, and some ministers in the Japanese government, including myself, also wrote to our U.S. counterparts or otherwise made known our concerns. Second, a delegation made up of members of the Japanese ruling parties as well as senior representatives of the government visited Washington, D.C. last week to appeal to the U.S government and members of the Congress. Third, I held discussions with my colleagues from the Umbrella Group countries last week and we all agreed that it was important to continue working together as the Group. The U.S. was told that other countries saw the Kyoto Protocol as the basis of negotiations and that they looked forward to seeing the result of the policy review. Fourth, the environment ministers of Japan, South Korea, and China expressed, in a joint communique released yesterday here in Tokyo after their third tripartite meeting, their wish for the U.S. government to work actively with all Parties of the Framework Convention to attain a successful outcome of the resumed COP6 in order to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force as early as possible.

Japan reaffirms its commitment to continue urging, in collaboration with other countries, the U.S. Administration to reconsider its position on the Protocol and to actively contribute to negotiations so that the outcome of the resumed COP6 will allow the Kyoto Protocol to be ratified.

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