NEWS

Government, industry and individuals all should take responsibility

Prime Minister Fukuda has spoken about the societal changes such as adjustments in lifestyles and the ways cities work that are needed to make Japan a low-carbon society. You will be aware that there has been a gradual change in mind-set about environmental issues among many Greeks, particularly the younger generation, over recent years. But this seems to have happened in spite of government measures rather than because of them. Have these changes come from citizens themselves or should governments be leading by example? Government, industries (non-governmental organizations) and citizens are equal partners. They are equally responsible. Of course, the government has a major role in enacting laws and regulations and raising people’s awareness, but so does industry. They are releasing emissions so they have a big responsibility. But the government’s and industry’s reactions will be a reflection of the people. So people should have good awareness of the issue. This Greek government and previous ones have been heavily criticized for their lack of action to combat climate change and protect the environment. In a year when Japan has been trying to encourage international cooperation on these issues, how was the response of the Greek government? I have approached the government at a high level and its members have shown concern and interest. But the administration as a whole has to work and real efforts are still limited. We would like to see efforts boosted. I recognize that the new generation is more concerned about the environment. I see a lot of hope in the younger generation. And what about Greece being suspended from the Kyoto Protocol emissions trading system? To be frank, I was surprised to see this happen. There are some technical aspects and the Greek experts say that the surveillance ability is good enough to comply with the UN requirement. So, I’m not sure where the problem is.