Japan eyes environmental breakthrough

In less than a month, the leaders of some of the world’s most powerful nations will meet in Japan with the aim of trying to tackle climate change. Ahead of the G8 Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fakuda announced this week that his country aims to cut greenhouse gases, which have been blamed for global warming, by 60 to 80 percent by 2050. «When talking about the near future, we no longer have the luxury of encouraging others or spending time playing a game of setting targets for political propaganda,» said Fukuda. The Japanese premier also proposed the creation of a $1.2 billion multilateral fund to help developing countries fight global warming. Fukuda proposed raising the proportion of Japan’s energy from «zero emission power,» which includes sources such as nuclear, solar, wind and hydro power, to more than 50 percent from the current 40 percent. However, Japan is one of the world’s largest emitters and some critics believe that the target set by Fukuda is not enough. «The G8 leaders need to make concrete steps forward to a low carbon world and Japan’s Prime Minister Fukuda needs to push hard to trigger that leadership,» said Kathrin Gutmann, WWF Climate Policy Coordinator, in a policy statement. Japan, the creator of the hybrid car as well as other environmentally friendly technology, now finds itself at the forefront of the world’s struggle with climate change and is clearly hoping to make a breakthrough at next month’s G8 meeting. Kathimerini English Edition caught up with the Japanese ambassador in Athens, Takanori Kitamura, to discuss his country’s views on climate change as well as his own experiences of Greece’s approach to environmental issues. «We need to share our ideas and have a sense of participation as well as a sense of benefit,» Ambassador Kitamura told this newspaper ahead of the G8 Summit in his country. «The whole world will lose if we cannot succeed.» [email protected]