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Japan Disappointed with New US Approach to Global Warming - 2002-02-15

Japan's Environment Minister said he is disappointed with President Bush's new plan to tackle global warming - an alternative to the 1997 Kyoto agreement on climate change.

Just two days before President Bush arrives in Tokyo for a summit, Japanese Environment Minister Hiroshi Oki has said he is not satisfied with the new U.S. approach to global warming.

Minister Oki said he would like to continue exchanging opinions with the United States at the upcoming summit and at other opportunities.

The U.S. proposal unveiled Thursday calls for incentives to get companies to voluntarily reduce environmentally harmful emissions.

The 1997 Kyoto Treaty on global warming mandates cuts to be undertaken by signatories.

President Bush has rejected the treaty saying it will harm U.S. economic growth, forcing the United States to cut fossil fuel emission while large developing countries - such as China and India - would be exempt. Washington argues the new U.S. plan is a more thoughtful approach to the Kyoto agreement.

Mr. Oki has said the Bush plan will fall short of the Kyoto targets and that is disappointing. He added Japan plans to ratify the climate pact even without U.S. participation.

Scientists from many countries, including the United States, have expressed concerns about global warming. They have warned that gases from burning fossil fuels are accumulating in the earth's atmosphere and causing rising temperatures - which could wreak environmental havoc.