Friday, March 21, 2008

Are Japan's leaders merely readers on climate change? Japan Times headline.

A very simple answer: Yes, if that is not giving them too much credit. Since the Kyoto Accord was signed in Japan, there seems to be some belief that Japan is a world leader in fighting global warming. The nihonronists and members of the Department of an Imaginary Japans like to spout this as it goes right along with the "special" relationship with nature that Japan mythically has. Some of the right-wing nutjobs even count their own brand of environmentalism as part of their ideals, so no doubt they would love to believe that Japan is or should be the natural leader in this.

Strangely though, Japan did not ratify the Accords until Boy George pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. (OK, most countries curiously declined to act until Bush said the U.S. would not participate.) In addition, one often reads/hears about how difficult if will be for Japan to become even more energy efficient than it already, anyone who lives in Tokyo ought to be able to think of numerous was that Japan could easily reduce energy usage and emissions further. The use of proper insulation in homes and less wrapping/packaging, for example.

..."Fukuda's speech at Davos was compiled by officials of the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry...those bureaucrats are actually controlling policies on global warming to ensure they are ineffective and insufficient...

Tetsunari Iida, [from the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies] explained the government, greatly influenced by big energy industries, hammered out the targets — targets which have actually been preventing the promotion of renewable energy. Read the full article at The Japan Times here.

The good thing for the US is that Boy George will soon be a former president like Bubba Clinton and we won't hear much from him unless his wife---god forbid---runs for president. For Japan, it is likely that the same bunch of hair-dyeing, barcode-headed old geezers mainly from the LDP (and the bureaucracy) will still be running the country for the foreseeable future. So leadership from Japan on the issue is about as realistic as the uniquely special relationship that Japan has with nature.

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