July 17, 2001 – Despite repeated questioning in Bonn, Japan’s Environment Minister Kawaguchi again refused to clarify Japan’s position on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Their behaviour threatens to bring the Bonn negotiations to a crisis, derailing ten years of talks. For Kyoto to enter into force, countries representing 55% of industrialised countries’ emissions must ratify.

When Prime Minister Koizumi met the US president, George W Bush, at Camp David last month, he said Japan would try to persuade the US to reverse its rejection of the Protocol. However, the US administration has said unequivocally that it has no intention of doing so.

Japan says it has come to Bonn to negotiate rules, with the intent of considering ratification later. But its demands for even bigger sinks allowances – in concert with the obstructive Governments of Australia and Canada – threatens the integrity of the Protocol. Japan is trying to increase the allowed contribution of sinks beyond the concessions already offered in the Hague and offered by the President of the Conference before this meeting [1].

‘Ms Kawaguchi and Mr Koizumi say Japan still wants Kyoto to enter into force by 2002, but its unconstructive demands are threatening the survival of the protocol. Unless the Japanese government adopts a more progressive position, and publicly commits to ratification without the US, the chance of meaningful international action on climate change could be lost and the Japanese blamed,’ said Kate Hampton of Friends of the Earth International.

‘Japan is failing to grasp the urgency of this issue. The Kyoto treaty is a small first step to reduce our climate impact. The Prime Minister must honour Kyoto and focus on its ratification and implementation, without the US.’ says Yuri Onodera, Friends of the Earth Japan.

Of it’s 6% emissions reduction target, Japan want to use domestic sinks to account for 3.7% and no limitation on the use of sinks in JI and CDM. This would mean that Japan could completely avoid reducing emissions from burning fossil fuels. Pronk had offered a 3% contribution from both domestic and JI/CDM sinks.

Contacts in Bonn:
Kate Hampton, Friends of the Earth International, +447748967323
Yuri Onodera, Friends of the Earth Japan, +49 173 195 3093
Ian Willmore, Media Coordinator + 49 174 160 4808