JAPAN CASTS ASIDE KYOTO AGREEMENT REPORT
TOKYO, Japan --Japan has effectively abandoned the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released Sunday.
Japanese industry groups have forced the government to drop mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto agreement, making it unlikely Tokyo will be able to meet its reduction targets, the Yomiuri newspaper said.
The decision by an Environment Ministry policy board, under pressure from corporate lobbies, to impose only voluntary limits on carbon dioxide emissions would spell doom for Japan's six percent reduction goal. The newspaper quoted an unidentified member of the panel, which is drafting Japan's strategy to fight global warming, as saying there is nothing in its upcoming report that directly commits companies to cut back on polluting.
Economic slump blamed
Reducing emissions by 6 percent from the benchmark year of 1990 will be all the more formidable for Japan because the nation's carbon dioxide levels have risen about 17 percent over the past decade.
The nation's deep economic slump is also likely to make corporate Japan fight harder against any measures that increase the costs of production.
Japan plans to ratify the international treaty on global warming in June, 2002 during its regular session of Parliament.
Seeing the protocol to fruition is a matter of national pride for Japan, which basked in the international attention of brokering the deal in 1997.
However, after the United States pulled out of the pact in March, Japan questioned whether there was any meaning in ratifying it without the world's biggest industrial power -- and polluter -- on board.
Japan's decision to ratify the protocol came in November, months after European nations had collectively announced they would approve the treaty even without Washington's participation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.