On Wednesday the Upper House plenary session started deliberations on the Paris Agreement, a new international framework for fighting climate change. Japan has been left behind by major players including the U.S., China and India in ratifying the climate accord. During the session, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida acknowledged the government’s failure to foresee the swift enactment of the agreement that was enabled by the early ratification by the EU (European Union).
The Paris Agreement will come into force on Nov. 4, and on Nov. 7, the first meeting of the signatory nations will be held to coincide with the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Japan missed the ratification deadline on Thursday that would have enabled it to officially participate in the meeting as a member. Instead, Japan is going to attend the COP22 meeting as an observer without a right to vote.
The foreign minister explained, “[Attending the meeting] means a lot from standpoint of contributing to the international efforts.” However, Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Party Tetsuro Fukuyama slammed the government by saying, “Japan is now out of loop. I suspect that the government didn’t intend to ratify it on time from the beginning.”
The ratification bill is expected to pass the Upper House by the end of the month, and the ruling parties are aiming for Diet approval before the agreement takes effect. In any case, Japan’s delay in ratifying the agreement is conspicuous.