Intensified contact between countries in the runup to international climate change talks in July is needed to save the Kyoto Protocol, said a European delegation in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The European delegates reiterated that they are prepared to ratify the agreement with or without the United States. Japan has not taken that position.

The talks in Japan concluded a whirlwind tour of several countries spurred by the U.S. abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol — which targets climate change — and new evidence that global warming is occurring.

“The Japanese position is slightly different than other countries, because the Japanese feel it will be possible to get the United States back into the Kyoto process,” said Swedish Environment Minister Kjell Larsson, speaking at the Japan National Press Club.

Larsson said the group was satisfied with its discussions in Japan but is not as optimistic about the U.S. “We have had signals in our discussions that Japan has not closed the door to ratification (of the protocol) without the U.S.,” he said.

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