• Kyodo

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About 180 officials from some 70 local governments in Japan and other Asian countries gathered Saturday in Yokohama for a two-day environment symposium.

International groups and nongovernmental organizations also attended. Participants discussed the role local governments should play in the next decade given that 2002 marks the 10th anniversary of the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro.

In a keynote speech, Kanagawa Gov. Hiroshi Okazaki said, “We have been holding training sessions every year to improve the environment, targeting the business and manufacturing industries in Vietnam and Thailand.

“From this year, we have chosen challenges of environmental conservation from the standpoint of Japanese companies working in those countries as the theme of the training sessions.”

At the symposium, hosted by the Environment Ministry and Kanagawa Prefecture, participants traded views in four different working groups. The participants are expected to adopt a statement at a plenary session Sunday.

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