• Kyodo

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A European Union mission is slated to visit Japan on July 9 to urge Tokyo to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming, even if the United States does not participate, EU officials said Saturday.

Japan agreed to the delegation’s visit on the date proposed by the EU, which precedes the resumption of U.N. climate-change talks in mid-July in Bonn, Germany.

The EU, however, has thus far only finalized one mission delegate, European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom, as Belgium is having difficulty choosing officials for the mission, the officials said.

Belgium will take over the six-month rotating presidency of the 15-nation EU from Sweden on July 1.

The EU, a strong advocate of the Kyoto treaty, has pledged to aim for the pact’s enactment by the 2002 target date despite U.S. opposition, and has been demanding ratification by Japan.

Japan has not clarified whether it will ratify the treaty if the U.S. stays out of the framework. The U.S., the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, said in March it will reject the agreement.

The Kyoto treaty requires industrialized countries to impose binding limits on emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

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