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Japan business leaders question U.S. withdrawal from Paris accord

Japanese business leaders on Friday questioned President Donald
Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate
agreement.

"The Paris Agreement is an asset to humanity. The announcement
(of the United States' withdrawal) is extremely regrettable," Akio
Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said
in a press conference.

Mimura said the United States should "think of a way to grow the
economy while protecting jobs through technological innovation and
cutting greenhouse gases," pushing back against Trump's claim that
the agreement places an unfair burden on U.S. companies and would
hurt jobs in the country.

Mimura said he hopes the backlash against the decision from the
international community and within the country would persuade Trump
to change his mind and help "return the United States to a wholesome
state."

Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation,
also known as Keidanren, said in a statement that "as leaders in
eco-friendly technology, the United States and Japan must find a way
to work together toward reducing greenhouse gases on a global scale."

Some worried the U.S. withdrawal from the historic accord would
hold back the global shift toward stricter environmental regulations
and slow growth in businesses pushing green technology.

A person working at a company that supplies materials for
batteries used in eco-friendly electric vehicles said "there's no
immediate consequence but we will be paying close attention to any
moves, including changes in U.S. emissions regulations."

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, head of the Japan Association of Corporate
Executives, said the decision "places more importance on economic
growth than on environmental protection."

"Japan needs to lead by example" by showing that advances in
green technology will result in economic growth, he said in a
statement.

Some corporate officials said the U.S. withdrawal would have
little effect on the march toward green technology.

"Eco-friendly cars are the trend now. (Trump's decision) doesn't
change the fact that we will continue to develop them," a
representative of a major Japanese automaker said. (June 2)