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There are probably very few people nowadays who have not heard of the Kyoto Protocol. On the other hand, not so many know that there exists only one amendment to this document — to Annex B to be exact. It basically sets my country’s commitments regarding the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions between 2008 and 2012. For Belarus this figure is 8 percent, while Japan has an obligation of 6 percent.

Implementation of Kyoto Protocol market mechanisms for Belarus and its interested partners will be possible only after the Belarusian amendment takes effect — following ratification of the amendment by the parties to the Kyoto Protocol, including Japan. Belarus has invariably demonstrated its willingness to develop and enhance bilateral ecological cooperation with Japan. And a number of major Japanese companies have shown interest in implementing Kyoto mechanism projects in Belarus, which has the will to join the international community in climate-change mitigation activities after 2012 as well.

Japan is where the Kyoto Protocol was signed. It also hosted the recent Group of Eight summit in Hokkaido, placing global-warming issues at the center of the discussions. Proposals by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on halving greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 and his other initiatives for fighting adverse climate changes deserve thorough and serious consideration by the international community at large.

Wouldn’t it be only natural for Japan to continue with this spirit of trailblazing and to set an example to other countries by ratifying the Belarus amendment to Annex B as soon as possible? Over 60 countries have already started the ratification procedure; for six of them, ratification is a fait accompli. It would really be disappointing to see Japan trailing behind.

leonid batyanovsky