Japan's Green Demand on China

Japan isn’t often in a position to demand things of China recently. The heated political environment during the Koizumi years left few opportunities for the Japanese government to get tough. They made noise over a Chinese submarine’s incursion into Japanese waters, and they were firm in demanding that the Chinese government protect Japanese citizens and interests during the April 2005 anti-Japan demonstrations. But less immediate issues didn’t often work their way into Sino-Japanese public diplomacy.

Today UPI reports that Japan is in rare form, getting tough on its neighbor with an unusually large pollution problem.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 6 (UPI) — Japan’s chief negotiator at the Kyoto conference in Nairobi Monday called on China to let the United Nations know what it is doing about greenhouse gases.

Mutsuyoshi Nishimara said China appears to be making great progress but needs to “the commitment and do the job.”

Nishimara rejected calls to punish those countries violating clean air rules.

“We lose the battle the moment we seek to punish countries for noncompliance,” Nishimara said.

This came at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Nairobi. Indeed, China’s environmental policies have a real effect in Japan, where the sun rises and the wind sometimes blows.

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