National

Youths rally for action on climate change outside Diet as 'Friday' movement reaches Japan

Kyodo

Students calling for action to address climate change took to the streets in front of the Diet on Friday, joining what has become a global youth movement.

About 20 individuals, including high school and university students, sought to raise the alarm about climate change and make their voices heard, holding up handmade placards that read “Live with the Earth” and “Act Now!”

Organizers took a cue from a broader movement called #FridaysForFuture that began in 2018 when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg spent her school hours not in class, but sitting in front of Sweden’s legislature demanding political action against climate change.

She posted her daily activity on Instagram and Twitter, grabbing attention in Europe and beyond.

Held in an area where government offices are concentrated, the event at the Diet was the first of its kind in Japan, according to the people who decided to organize it.

“Young people can change society as a whole if our perceptions change,” said Aina Koide, a 20-year-old university student who is leading the initiative.

“My hope is that more young people will share that view and come,” she said, adding that the priority is to raise awareness about environmental issues.

Among the participants in the event were a female university student who rushed to the roughly hourlong rally in her job-hunting suit, and students who had their eyes opened to the issue while spending time abroad.

Isao Sakai, an 18-year-old high school student, recalled that the environmental science class he took during his stay in the United States was an “eye-opening experience.”

“I didn’t care about climate change until then. But knowledge makes a difference,” Sakai said. “First off, more young people need to become aware of what’s happening.”