Japan will not ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to curb global warming if the United States stays out of it, Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka said Friday.
“Japan cannot go ahead with European countries while leaving behind the U.S. We will make constructive efforts to the end to ratify the pact jointly with the U.S.,” Tanaka said at the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Kyoto treaty imposes binding limits on emissions of six greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. The U.S. is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
Tanaka also said she will urge the country back to the Kyoto accord during talks with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell scheduled for Monday.
U.S. President George W. Bush has repeatedly indicated his intention to ditch the treaty, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy while exempting developing countries from their responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases.
Tanaka was responding to a question by Naoto Kan, secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, who insisted Japan independently ratify the treaty, which was adopted in the nation’s ancient capital.
Citing Diet resolutions adopted in April in which Japan’s ratification was sought by 2002, Kan asked the Foreign Minister when the government intends to ask the Diet to ratify the pact.
Tanaka merely said she will “carefully study” the timing after hearing from other Cabinet ministers while “taking seriously and paying respect to” the Diet resolutions.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi reiterated Friday that Japan will not give up “until the very last moment” its efforts to persuade the U.S. to participate in the Kyoto pact.
She made the comment at a news conference after being asked about the failure of the U.S. and the European Union to agree on Kyoto treaty issues in talks held Thursday at Goteborg, Sweden.
Kawaguchi said that without U.S. participation, developing countries may not take part in international efforts to curb global warming. If large polluters do not join, the pact “will not be a process we can be proud of before future generations.”
Kawaguchi avoided touching on the possibility of bringing the Kyoto pact into force without the U.S.
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