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Gov't urged by environmentalists to seek U.S. return to Paris deal

Japanese environmentalists urged the government on Friday to
make efforts in bringing back the United States to the Paris climate
accord following President Donald Trump's announcement to withdraw
his country from the pact.

"We strongly protest the Trump government's decision and urge
the Japanese government to continuously prompt (the United States) to
return to the Paris accord," WWF Japan said in a statement, adding
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a vital role to play.

According to the Tokyo-based environment group, the premier is
facing a "crucial stage where he will be tested" if he can have
candid discussions with the Trump administration.

"(Abe) must clearly tell the United States that the decision is
absolutely unacceptable," it said.

A member of the WWF Japan, Naoyuki Yamagishi, also criticized
Trump's remark referring to the accord as unfair, saying, "Even if
the United States eases regulations and protects the coal industry,
jobs will not increase. (The exit) is a backlash against industries
on renewable energy and other areas with potential growth."

Trump has said the agreement allows China to "build hundreds of
additional coal plants" and India to "double its coal production by
2020," in what he said "transfers coal jobs out of America" and
"ships them to foreign countries."

Mie Asaoka, president of Kiko Network, a Japanese
nongovernmental organization on the environment, urged other nations
to "go ahead as planned in implementing the accord" and "be prepared
in sharing (the role) of providing funds to developing countries" to
fill the shoes of the United States.

FoE Japan, another environmental group, issued a statement
expressing "strong anger" at the decision, saying the Paris accord,
in the first place, had already been weakened, and criticized the
United States for "abandoning its historic responsibility and duty"
when it is the most responsible for the current global warming.

The United States is the world's second-largest emitter of
greenhouse gases after China.

In Tokyo, environmentalists staged a protest in front of the
U.S. Embassy, with some members holding placards, including one
calling the withdrawal from the accord "foolish."

"It's extremely disappointing the United States made the choice
to step down from its position as the world leader," said Hisayo
Takada, a member of environmental activist group Greenpeace Japan who
was among the participants.

Takada also urged the Japanese government to "review its ongoing
plan to build new coal-fired plants." (June 2)