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G8 tech ministers agree on teamwork

Kyodo

The Group of Eight science and technology ministers agreed Sunday to promote cooperation between their countries as well as with developing nations to address global issues such as climate change and sustainable development from a technological standpoint.

The one-day meeting was chaired by Fumio Kishida, Japan’s state minister in charge of science and technology policy, who expressed hope that the talks will contribute to the success of the G8 summit in July in Hokkaido.

Kishida told a press conference after wrapping up the meeting that the participants acknowledged the importance of technological innovation in bringing about a low-carbon society and agreed to reinforce research and development in that field in each country involved and to exchange information.

They also shared the view that it is important for industrialized countries to promote cooperation in science and technology with African and other developing nations through policy dialogue, he said.

Ministers and proxies from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United States and the European Union also agreed to promote international cooperation in research and development resources through such means as shared use of large-scale facilities.

To this end, the members of the G8 framework and invitees from Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa and South Korea decided to hold a senior officials’ meeting in Washington in September or October.

“We have held the first (G8) ministerial meeting in the field of science and technology, which is important for resolving global issues, and were able to reach agreements,” Kishida said.

“I believe this will certainly lead to detailed and positive discussions at the Hokkaido Toyako summit where these major issues will be taken up,” he added, referring to the meeting of G8 leaders that will be held from July 7 to 9.

The key issues of climate change and African development are expected to be among the major issues on the agenda at the summit in Hokkaido.

Kishida also said that Italy, which is scheduled to chair the G8 summit next year, has offered to hold the second G8 science and technology ministers meeting to continue the process.

Japan also proposed summarizing the major policies on low-carbon technologies, cooperation with African nations and large-scale research facilities of the countries that took part in Sunday’s meeting by that time to facilitate cooperation, he said.

Concerning biofuels as an energy alternative, the meeting participants were in unison in emphasizing the importance of promoting the development of next-generation technology for producing them from “nonfood plant materials and inedible biomass” to prevent the trend from causing food shortages, he added.