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Readers might find it puzzling that the subject of the Feb. 3 editorial, “Rising costs of climate change,” was not front-page news. Increasingly extreme weather events brought about by man-made global warming should be a priority today precisely because it is the No. 1 threat to our future.

Image-conscious Japan lost face in a major way when leaders reneged on the nation’s Kyoto Protocol pledge and set their sights on an easily attainable 3.8 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels.

The backward-looking energy policy of the Abe administration must be shed. The shame doesn’t stop there, though, and further action must be taken. The article cites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as identifying a steady rise in population and a sharp increase in economic growth as the two main forces fueling the world’s 2.2 percent annual average carbon dioxide emissions increase from 2000 to 2010.

What is the Liberal Democratic Party doing? It’s upholding the rival Democratic Party of Japan’s discriminatory child allowance to boost the nation’s economy.

As for “traditional” Japan, it died first with the last samurai and next when class-A war criminals were honored at Yasukuni Shrine. Struggling with a years-long stagnant economy and a dwindling population, Japan’s social infrastructure more resembles a land of the setting sun. Time to change direction.

Japan could become a path blazer toward ensuring a sustainable future. Accepting further immigration to create the tax base leaders deem necessary would be a start. Imposing usage fees so that those who consume more pay more would be more egalitarian than raising the consumption tax in April.

chris clancy
shiojiri, nagano

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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