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Japan gives environment minister new role to lead climate change talks

Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi. (Mainichi/Koichiro Tezuka)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan on Tuesday gave Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi a new role as minister in charge of climate change as the country seeks to take the lead in upcoming international conferences on the global issue.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has instructed Koizumi to work with other ministers and prepare for a U.N. conference on climate change to be held in Britain in November.

    "Japan must proactively contribute to decarbonizing the world and lead international discussions," said Kato. The new assignment is for representing Japan in upcoming events and not a permanent post, he added.

    Ahead of the U.N. conference, U.S. President Joe Biden plans to host a climate summit in April.

    The government will also set up a panel on measures to combat global warming, comprising Cabinet members, experts and industry representatives, to work out a policy for realizing a green society, according to Kato.

    Suga has vowed to make Japan a net zero emission economy by 2050 and revamp its target for 2030 as well, saying going green will be a key driver of economic growth.

    Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, Japan aims to have slashed greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent in fiscal 2030 compared with fiscal 2013. But in January, Suga promised to unveil an "ambitious" new target through 2030 before the U.N. conference in November.

    "Based on scientific knowledge, we would like to present a 2030 reduction target in line with the 2050 goal," Koizumi said Tuesday during an Environment Committee meeting of the House of Representatives.

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