July 2, 2001 – The fate of the Kyoto climate agreement hangs by a thread after the Japanese Government said that it wanted to “bridge the gap” between the US and EU position.

At a press conference in London today a Japanese Government spokesman said that a ministerial summit will take place between Japan and the US on either the 15 or 16 July (the eve of the Bonn climate meeting). However, the spokesman refused to comment on whether the Japanese will sign the treaty if the US doesn’t come on board. Kyoto was discussed earlier today at a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Kate Hampton, Climate Campaigner for Friends of the Earth International said: “A Japanese refusal to ratify Kyoto will almost certainly be the death knell for serious international action to tackle global climate change. The time for talking is now over. It’s time for action. Abandoning agreed targets and timetables in a vain attempt to placate the US will not work. President Bush has said he won’t agree to mandatoty targets, and without these Kyoto is dead” and “Climate change is one of the biggest threats the planet faces. If this treaty is abandoned the world will blame those politicians responsible for its demise, and the selfish companies that can see no further than next year’s profit figures.”

Kate Hampton 0774 896 7323 (mobile)