Koizumi's 'sexy' words on climate change ring hollow for some in Japan

(Reuters, 24 Sep 2019) Japanese environment minister Shinjiro Koizumi’s call to make climate change “cool” and “sexy” rang false to some Japanese activists on Tuesday, who said he needed to lay down some clear policy.

Koizumi, speaking at the weekend before the start of a United Nations climate summit in New York, promised to mobilize young people to create a low-carbon future for coal-dependent Japan, which also emphasizes nuclear power.

“On tackling such a big-scale issue like climate change, it’s got to be fun, it’s got to be cool. It’s got to be sexy too,” the 38-year-old Koizumi, son of a former prime minister and often seen as a future prime minister himself, told a news conference.

But Japanese climate activists and opposition politicians said Koizumi, who on his first day in office also called for Japan to get rid of nuclear reactors, needs to start showing signs of action - or at least policy details - soon.

“We had hopes for Koizumi because his age is closer to us, but he didn’t respond well,” said Takuro Kajiwara, a university student who said he had expected hard policy details.

“We’re just so disappointed, we’re devastated,” he said. The 18-year-old helped organize a protest march through some of Tokyo’s most trendy areas last Friday, joining hundreds of thousands worldwide calling on governments to control greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think he doesn’t understand the climate crisis. He said ‘sexy’ and it didn’t really make sense,” Kajiwara added. “As one Japanese citizen, I am embarrassed.”

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Reuters, 24 Sep 2019: Koizumi's 'sexy' words on climate change ring hollow for some in Japan