Tokyo, Beijing to cooperate over air pollution menace

Kyodo

Tokyo and Beijing have agreed to promote technical cooperation and explore further measures for dealing with the harmful air pollution drifting to Japan from China, a government official said.

At working-level talks in Beijing on Friday, Tokyo expressed eagerness to cooperate on tackling the pollution problem, noting it not only concerns China but also has been affecting people in Japan, the official said.

The Chinese government outlined its measures for fighting the pollution and said it will look into how Japan can pitch in, adding it is seeking to commence trilateral cooperation over the matter with South Korea, which has been heavily affected due to its proximity to China.

The talks were held at Japan’s urging to consider measures against PM2.5 air pollution, or hazardous particulate matter 2.5 microns — 2.5 thousandths of a millimeter — or less in diameter that can cause severe health problems, after a thick blanket of toxic smog enveloped a large swath of China in January.

Amid fears over the spread of PM2.5 pollutants to Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government hopes the nation’s technology can be used to help trace the origins of PM2.5 and to predict its disbursement, the official said.

The meeting was attended by Japanese officials from the Foreign, Environment and industry ministries, and representatives from the Chinese Environment Ministry, the official said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday the government will compile provisional measures this month to deal with the pollution.

  • Ben

    my daily drive to work takes me along a raised river embankment which has a very good view to the north. i’d notice since more than 7 years ago that some days the furthest mountains were obscured in haze where they’d never been before, which was curious since the industrial centre is to the south, and there are nothing but well forested mountains in the north. year by year it has very clearly been getting much worse, and now even closer mountains are only visible after rain.
    i think japan should take up a 2-pronged approach, by raising the matter with the UN. in the past agreements have been made outlining the responsibility of nations upriver to those who receive flow-on water, why shouldn’t the same apply to air?