Japan Press Weekly
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Fukuda's CO2 proposal is thin and cunning
Akahata editorial (excerpts)
In his new climate change initiative dubbed the "Fukuda Vision" announced on June 9, Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo failed to declare Japanfs mid-term target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
With the G8 Toyako Summit expected to discuss ways to stop global warming as its biggest agenda item, the gFukuda Visionh raises doubt about Japanfs stance on the urgent issue that has an important bearing on the survival of humanity.
The evisionf calls for a 60-80 % cut in greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 level, which will be Japanfs longer-term goal. However, this will not happen for 40 years. Japan has no mid-term goal at present.
Fukuda says that Japan will announce its mid-term goal some time before the COP15 - United Nations Climate Change Conference in late 2009, but he is only delaying the discussion by using ongoing international talks as the pretext.
Some ruling party politicians are saying that Japan should use the announcement of its goal as its negotiating leverage. No way! Fukuda and the ruling parties may be seeking to protect Japanfs national interests through lowering Japanfs hurdle by forcing developing countries to do more to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
The task now is for Japan to present its mid-term target first in order to achieve the internationally agreed goal that the developed countries must take steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40 percent by 2020 from the 1990 level.
Fukuda not only refuses to present Japanfs mid-term goal, but is suggesting a lower target saying that it will be able to cut emissions by 14 percent by 2020 from 1990. He is even calling for a review of the benchmark year.
Japan, unlike EU countries, has increased global warming gas emissions since signing the Kyoto Protocol. A 14 percent cut will only reduce emissions by 4 percent from the 1990 level.
More than 400 NGOs in the world are urging Japan to announce a midterm goal. As one of the developed countries that have a heavy responsibility for global warming as well as being the host nation for the G8 Summit, the Japanese government is being put to the test. - Akahata, June 11, 2008
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