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Japan Env. Minister Koizumi annoyed by 'fossil award' media coverage

Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi speaks during a House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting at the Diet on Jan. 31, 2020. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi was visibly annoyed when he was asked in a Jan. 31 Diet session about Japan receiving the "Fossil of the Day" award during the U.N.'s COP 25 climate conference in December 2019, claiming that Japan was the only country that "makes such a big deal of the award."

Koizumi also said Japan was "the only country that reports on the award so much." His remarks came during a House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting when fellow Liberal Democratic Party legislator Kenji Nakanishi asked about the minister's take on Tokyo "winning" the award twice during the COP 25 conference in Madrid.

Nakanishi said, "It was unfortunate that the award was given to Japan as it was mocking the country." The award is given by the nongovernmental organization Climate Action Network to countries that are unwilling to take climate change countermeasures.

Touching on how Japanese media reported that Tokyo won the prize twice during the international talks, Koizumi noted that the award ceremony was "held every day" during COP 25 and, depending on the day, there were several winners such as the United States and Australia. He then added, "I assume there is a number of people who believe that Japan was the only country that was given the award."

Nakanishi then asked, "Even if it's that kind of award, do you have thoughts on changing how Japan sends out messages (regarding climate change countermeasures) so that we will never receive such an award again?" Koizumi replied, "I want to make sure that we get the message across that Japan is in no way unwilling to make society carbon-free. And to do that, we'll communicate to the world that straight-forward actions are needed."

(Japanese original by Daisuke Nohara, Political News Department)

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