Immediate Press Release

12 Jun,2001

Japan is choosing to kill the Kyoto Protocol
Stop Japan's Dreadful Foreign Policy:
Dismiss Environment Minister Kawaguchi -

Mie Asaoka
President, Kiko Network

US President George W. Bush announced an "alternative" to the Kyoto Protocol on 11th June, and COP6 President Mr. Pronk has also issued a new text for negotiation at the resumed COP6.

Japan's "understanding" of the US proposal is going to bury the Protocol

The new US proposal, of June 11th, has as its aim the erasure of all principles of the Kyoto Protocol, in that it focuses on research about climate change uncertainty and development for technological innovation.

This proposal states that the Kyoto Protocol is "fatally flawed". It is a totally unacceptable proposal, which moves action on climate change back to the stage it occupied in the 1980s.

Climate change is happening now, and immediate action is required.

Accepting that the Kyoto Protocol is the only available international framework for dealing with climate change, its ratification, application and enforcement is the best or only feasible way to prevent or limit climate change.

Therefore, the US proposal is completely unacceptable, and must not be signed by any other parties. Most developed countries other than Japan have already stated their clear positions, which are that they will ratify the Kyoto Protocol, even if the USA refuses to do so. However, the Japanese Environment Minister, Kawaguchi, today expressed her "understanding", "to some degree", with the US proposal.

That is to say, this is almost as though Japan is joining the USA in choosing to bury the Kyoto Protocol. The Japanese government's response to the US proposal has led to deep shock and outrage on the part of many concerned Japanese citizens. Furthermore, Kawaguchi's response was clearly against the Diet Resolution, which was unanimously agreed upon in April, which stated that the government must make an early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

Therefore, we demand the dismissal of Environment Minister Kawaguchi. It is now clear that the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 is incompatible with US participation in the Kyoto negotiations. We urge Prime Minister Koizumi to demonstrate that he has the firm intention of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.

Pronk's new paper:
- Special treatment for Japan on carbon-sinks: Because Japan is a troublemaker

Japan, exceptionally, received a gift, gratis, with respect to carbon-sinks, in the new text prepared by the COP6 President. In this text, it appears that the COP6 almost completely accepts the Japanese request with respect to carbon-sinks. Japan's request was to include as full sinks ones, such as forested lands, which amount to 3.7% of the 6% reduction target, and it is widely accepted that this is not additional, but merely a form of extremely creative accounting.

Japan's position in this respect has been roundly criticized by other countries, and this was one of the main reasons for the collapse of the Hague Conference last year. The new text now maintains that domestic sinks should be discounted up to 85%. However, it gives special treatment to Japan, alone, as an exception. This could be explained on the basis that Japan is recognized globally as a troublemaker in international negotiations, and other countries are therefore concerned that Japan will follow the USA in this respect. If Japan receives such a special "free gift", without any justification, there is no reason why the international community should not consider that this is unfair and regard Japan's behavior as unacceptable. The Japanese government should realize, by the fact of this "free gift", that Japan is viewed worldwide as a troublemaker, or almost like a spoilt child. This is shameful for Japanese citizens, and the government should not accept this dishonorable gift.

If the government has any pride in its role as a COP3 host country, it should immediately cease such an anti-environmentalist foreign policy, initiate a real, serious, domestic climate policy, and show its willingness to save the Kyoto Protocol.


Kiko Network Tokyo Office
Tel.: 81-3-3263-9210, fax: 81-3-3263-9463