• Jiji


Five Japanese youths have called on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to beef up the country’s measures against climate change.

When Kishida came out of a venue for a climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, after delivering a speech at the meeting Tuesday, the five youngsters tried to hand their letters to the prime minister while shouting “Mr. Kishida.”

They were blocked by security guards and were unable to hand the letters directly to Kishida. But an official from the Foreign Ministry told them that their letters will be delivered to the prime minister.

The five youths, members of climate activist group Fridays for Future Japan, attended the U.N. Climate Change Conference of Youth in Glasgow late last month, which preceded COP26.

In the speech at the COP26 summit, which kicked off Sunday, Kishida on Tuesday pledged additional aid of up to $10 billion (¥1.14 trillion) over the next five years to help Asia’s decarbonization efforts.

“I was frustrated that I couldn’t hand my letter to the prime minister in person even though he was near me,” said Minori Fukushiro, 16, one of the five youths.

But Fukushiro, a high school student from Tokyo, added, “It was good that my letter will be handed (to the prime minister). I want Prime Minister Kishida to understand our serious plea.”

The letter says, among other things, “I came to Glasgow for COP26, being absent from school for nearly a month, and I want (Japan) to take responsible measures (to combat climate change) to protect our future and creatures other than humans as well,” according to Fukushiro.

Isao Sakai, a 20-year-old university student who now lives in the United States, said in his letter: “Climate change is causing damage to our generation. I want (Japan) to decide measures reflecting the voices of citizens and young people.”

Sakai said that Kishida’s speech at the COP26 summit was “insufficient” because it did not include bold steps such as Japan ending coal-fired thermal power generation, a major source of carbon dioxide.

“I hope that measures leading to a fundamental solution to the issue of climate change will be taken,” Sakai said.

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