• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka and German Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer agreed Friday on the importance of urging the United States back to the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, Japanese ministry officials said.

Tanaka and Fischer, also Germany’s foreign minister, met for half an hour on the sidelines of the two-day foreign ministerial conference of the Asia-Europe Meeting ending the same day.

Germany’s position differs slightly from the European Union, whose officials have told Japan they are committed to the 2002 deadline for implementing the pact, regardless of U.S. involvement.

Japan has remained firm on continuing to involve Washington after U.S. President George W. Bush announced in March that his administration would ditch the 1997 protocol.

Tanaka and Fischer also confirmed that the two countries will continue efforts to realize the “seven pillars of cooperation in Japan-Germany relations in the 21st century,” according to the officials.

The seven pillars — which include contributions to global and regional peace and stability — were agreed to in a document signed in Tokyo in October by Fischer and Tanaka’s predecessor, Yohei Kono.

The two met for the first time since Tanaka was appointed April 26 as Japan’s first female foreign minister, the two diplomats also welcomed the recent close bilateral cooperation on U.N. reforms and other issues, the officials said.

At the end of the talks, Tanaka accepted Fischer’s invitation to visit Berlin, the officials said.

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