"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Keynote Speech by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yutaka Banno At Climate Change Symposium-In Search of Better Governance on Climate Change-

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] March 2, 2011
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to host this symposium and to welcome to Japan such distinguished individuals who are playing a major role in the international negotiations on climate change. I would like to make welcoming remarks, representing the Japanese government.

The purpose of this symposium is to consider what steps the international community should take to secure our “global interests.” We need to discuss how to construct global governance that can effectively deal with global issues, including climate change, and how to advance the negotiations to establish such governance from this broader view. I sincerely expect that this symposium will send a strong message on the new framework to combat climate change.

Outcome of COP16

Last year, as a result of very tough negotiations, the Cancun Agreements were adopted at COP16. The Cancun Agreements are seen as an important milestone for establishing a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate. Once again, allow me to express my appreciation to Mexico for its excellent work as Presidency.

Japan also made its utmost efforts to promote these climate change negotiations. As for fast-start financing, Japan has pledged $15 billion, including public and private finance to support developing countries that actively implement climate change countermeasures, and has already implemented $7.2 billion.

At the same time, Japan assumed the co-presidency of the REDD+ Partnership last year. This is a framework that was established to strengthen international efforts on REDD+. In this capacity, Japan hosted the “Ministerial Meeting of the REDD+ Partnership” last October in Nagoya, and the ministers concurred on the direction of future activities to be carried out by the international community with regard to REDD+. This meeting built momentum toward COP16.

Maintaining the constructive atmosphere gained at COP16, it is necessary to operationalize with a sense of urgency a wide range of elements included in the Cancun Agreements.

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol has played a pioneering role, as it set out concrete emission reduction commitments for sovereign states for the first time in history. It is important to share the spirit of Kyoto among countries and to establish a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate.

At COP16, attention was focused on Japan’s remark that it would not agree on establishing a second commitment period. To avoid any possible misunderstanding, I would like to emphasize once again that our position on a second commitment period stems from a view of protecting the global interests. It is by no means correct to say that Japan is not active in its efforts to combat climate change.

We cannot solve the issue by setting out a second commitment period that only covers 27% of global emissions. Rather, it is necessary to work for the operationalization of the Cancun Agreements to realize the world-wide emissions reduction in the post-2012 period and to establish a truly fair and effective international framework by preventing the “implementation gap” of all major economies. Japan will constructively contribute to discussions for this purpose.

Establishment of a truly fair and effective international framework

When considering a truly fair and effective international framework, we need to duly reflect the basic structural changes under way in the international community. Developed countries accounted for 65% of global emissions in 1990, but that percentage had already decreased to 49% by 2007 and it continues to decline. Developed countries need to take the lead in tackling climate change, but at the same time emerging economies are expected to play a responsible role. We need to develop the Cancun Agreements and construct a framework that can provide transparency and facilitate further action.

Also, we need to aim for a framework that maximizes the role of private sector strengths in finance and technology that are indispensable for combating climate change. We need to broadly recognize that environmental conservation does not impede private economic activity, but provides new opportunities for growth. By providing new incentives and implementing regulatory reform, we should formulate market mechanisms that will help achieving both environmental protection and economic development.

Development assistance is one of the important elements. Japan is determined to steadily implement its pledged fast-start financing of $15 billion up to 2012. As for the long-term financing, Japan will actively participate in designing the Green Climate Fund to ensure that it functions effectively to grasp and to meet the need of developing countries. Also, in order to enrich the function of technological mechanisms, it is necessary that both the public and private sectors contribute in a collaborative way.

MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) is also an important issue. MRV does not impose burden to developing countries, but encourage further financial and technical assistance to their mitigation actions. Japan is going to engage in capacity-building of developing counties.

No international framework can win trust if it does not give appropriate consideration to vulnerable countries, including Africa, small island states and least developed countries. As a country that holds human security as one of the important pillars of its diplomacy, Japan would like to emphasize the importance of taking measures for vulnerable countries. Japan will strengthen cooperation and dialogue with developing countries, through TICAD, the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, or CARICOM.

Green growth and Japan’s efforts

Going forward, a green growth model that reconciles environmental protection and economic development will be imperative. Japan has achieved rapid economic growth without increasing energy consumption per GDP through energy saving and technological innovation. Last June, Japan established the “Strategic Energy Plan”. Under this plan, the domestic energy related CO2 emissions will be reduced by 30% or more in 2030 compared to the 1990 level. We will promote necessary policies to achieve this plan. Also last June, the Cabinet announced a “New Growth Strategy.” One of its main pillars is “National Strategic Projects Related to Green Innovation;” this aims to achieve an environment-related new market on the order of \50 trillion and to create 1.4 million new environment-related jobs. Japan would also like to support other countries’ efforts moving to the new growth model by sharing its experience. Japan continues to establish a comprehensive green innovation strategy that further elaborates the national strategic projects.

Japan’s policy to promote efforts to reduce emissions after 2012 will remain unchanged. The Japanese government submitted a bill, the “Basic Act on Global Warming Countermeasures,” to the Diet. It sets out a framework to implement countermeasures against global warming in the mid- and long-term. It also includes the ambitious target of reducing emissions by 25% with conditions by 2020 compared to the 1990 levels, and its long-term objective is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. The Japanese Government continues to make its utmost effort to pass this bill.

As for domestic measures, the Japanese government is planning to introduce a “Carbon Dioxide Tax of Global Warming Countermeasure” next October and is now discussing related bills in the Diet. Also, the government will submit a bill that enables it to introduce a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy from fiscal year 2012.

We would like to lead emission reductions on a global scale by sharing our experiences of green growth and countermeasures against climate change with developing countries and actively supporting them.

Toward COP17, Conclusion

COP17 is the best opportunity to move toward the establishment of a truly fair and effective international framework. It is necessary to operationalize the major elements, including mitigation, MRV, finance, technology and REDD+, based on the Cancun Agreements.

Japan is determined to fully support South Africa’s COP17 Presidency, and on March 3rd and 4th, will host the Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change in Tokyo, where Japan serves as co-chair with Brazil. Above all, combating climate change is the responsibility of all the people in our generation, and climate change is our problem. Let us fulfill our responsibility together.

I would like to conclude my remarks by expressing my sincere hope that this symposium will be an opportunity for constructive inputs to the international negotiations toward COP17, as well as a chance to revisit the international community’s basic principles for combating climate change from mid- and long-term perspectives.