About 300 people demonstrated through the crowded streets of Shibuya and Harajuku in central Tokyo on Saturday to urge the Japanese government to stick to the floundering 1997 Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming.

The Stop Global Warming! Family Parade, organized by 13 mostly environmental groups, demanded that the Diet and the government ratify and implement the Kyoto pact, even if the U.S. decides to drop out.

Members of environment groups including Kiko Network, Friends of the Earth Japan and the Japan Wild Bird Society carried banners and sang during the parade.

“(U.S.) President (George W.) Bush decided to destroy the Earth for the sake of his own country’s economy and some quarters in the Japanese government are trying to follow suit,” said Saburo Kato, a leading member of the parade’s organizers. “We have to get enraged. Climate change will greatly affect our children’s generation.”

Some participants wore masks bearing the faces of Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, while another protester wore a mask depicting the Earth obscured by a scarf.

One banner said “Global warming will become Earth’s coat and scarf,” while others read, “Koizumi, don’t follow Bush!” and “Don’t sink Kyoto.”

The protocol requires that industrialized countries cut emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide by an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

It has faced collapse since Bush announced in March that the U.S. would withdraw from the pact because he said it would hurt the U.S. economy while exempting developing countries from compliance.

European countries have proposed that the protocol be ratified even without U.S. participation, but Japan still hopes that Washington will revert to the pact.

Organizers said they will present a statement to Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi and the U.S. Embassy on Monday urging the U.S. to rethink and ratify the pact before the target year of 2002.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.