Merkel, Abe agree to push for greenhouse cuts

29th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

29 August 2007, Tokyo (dpa) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Wednesday that their countries should be at the vanguard of efforts toward energetic and verifiable reduction of greenhouse gases.

29 August 2007

Tokyo (dpa) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged Wednesday that their countries should be at the vanguard of efforts toward energetic and verifiable reduction of greenhouse gases.

The two leaders agreed on closer cooperation in climate change efforts at their talks at the outset of Merkel's visit to Japan, following her three-day visit to China.

In her initial comments, the German chancellor said Germany could not take on a pioneering role on climate change alone, and that Japan had a key role to play in the process, Merkel said.

The chancellor lauded Abe for what she called his substantial contributions at the Group of Eight summit of established industrialized countries in June in Germany when the United States neared setting concrete targets for reducing greenhouse gases.

A compromise was reached instead in which the eight nations - the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Russia - agreed to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

On other issues, Merkel welcomed Abe's announcement that Japan would continue to participate in the Enduring Freedom anti-terrorism mission in Afghanistan.

Among other aspects of Japan's contribution had been that Japanese ships had provided fuel to German naval vessels which were on patrol to provide security on shipping routes at the Horn of Africa.

Economic relations as well as key global issues were also on the agenda for the Merkel-Abe meeting, which came after Merkel arrived earlier in the day on her first visit to Japan.

German companies were meanwhile hoping for a boost in their business prospects in Japan from Merkel's visit.

Though Japan is the world's second largest economy and Germany is the world's top exporting nations, Japan itself imports relatively few German products, ranking only 16th on the list of Germany's export markets.

In a related development, Abe expressed Japan's interest in achieving a free-trade agreement with the European Union, saying that "in the future we must think about Europe."

Merkel's response was notably restrained, commenting that while she had not talked with Abe about the idea, she felt that at the moment the focus should be on the World Trade Organisation negotiations on a new world trade agreement.

The Berlin leader's trip came as Abe faces political trouble at home, including reshuffling his cabinet this week to try to win back public confidence after his coalition was defeated in recent parliamentary elections and his government was rocked by a number of scandals that led one minister to commit suicide.

During her three-day stay in Japan, Merkel is also to meet with Emperor Akihito and visit Kyoto and Osaka.

The chancellor ended her three-day China visit Wednesday by opening a factory belonging to a subsidiary of Germany's Siemens AG in Nanjiang.

During her visit, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao promised greater engagement on climate change, and Merkel said she saw movement on the issue from China, which by some accounts has overtaken the US as the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases.

Merkel also called in Beijing for the protection of intellectual property rights, more press freedom and adherence to human rights, stressing that the world's eyes would be on China when it hosts the Summer Olympics next year.

dpa

Subject: German news

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