Japan, S. Korea, China to share air pollutant data

Kyodo

Japan, China and South Korea have agreed to share information on cross-border pollution, including on PM2.5 — hazardous particulate matter measuring below 2.5 microns — through a trilateral working-level panel.

In a joint statement adopted after two days of talks wrapped up Monday in Kitakyushu, the environment ministers of the three countries said they will set up the panel to hold periodic strategic dialogue to facilitate measures against air pollution.

The panel will involve senior environmental officials who will discuss such matters as reinforcing monitoring of PM2.5. Specific measures they work out will be addressed at a followup meeting.

Concern in Japan over air pollution originating in China spiked earlier this year due to harmful PM2.5 concentrations.

At a joint news conference Monday, Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said the outcome was a “step forward toward resolving” air pollution issues and that the panel is expected to serve as a base for trilateral efforts.

Although there had been concerns the meeting would not be held because of diplomatic tentions, Ishihara said it is “meaningful” that it went ahead and the participants held “fruitful discussions.” South Korean Environment Minister Yoon Seong Kyu and Li Ganjie, China’s vice minister for environmental protection, took part.