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4 Jul, 2008 00:58

Japan plans eco-friendly G8 summit

Global warming will be high on the list of priorities at the G8 summit in Japan, and holding it next to Hokkaido’s natural reserves, organisers want to show the beauty and the fragility of nature – and to give an example of how to save it.

Climate change is seen as something very real in Japan. As the Arctic ice melts, the country feels its ecological balance is under threat.

The summit organisers are doing everything possible to make sure that even the venue is as environmentally friendly as possible.

All the auxiliary buildings, including the media centre, were built of wood logs and other eco-friendly materials. When the summit’s over it will be dismantled, and 95 per cent of the materials will be reused elsewhere.

Solar batteries will provide a substantial amount of the buildings' energy supply.

And that's not the only place where Japanese technicians are using the best nature has to offer.

“Instead of using regular air conditioning which consumes too much energy and isn’t that good for the environment, we've built a unique conditioning system which uses snow. It will generate cold air that will come through the pipes and then simply melt,” said chief engineer Hideo Koji.

A number of important initiatives will be announced at the conference, according to environmentalist Dr. Hiroshi Ueda.

“At the G8 summit in Hokkaido, the Japanese government will urge world leaders to take measures in two directions: the first will be to stop climate change, and the second to develop programmes sparing natural resources – and reproducing some of them,” said Professor Hiroshi Ueda from Hokkaido University.

Recycling is the credo of the modern Japan. As one of the leaders of the world’s car-making industry, it is also pioneering car recycling.

A small factory in Hokkaido disassembles 1,500 cars a month and 90 per cent of the materials, including parts, metals, oil and glass are reused.

It's making good business as turning cars back into metal and plastic brings in a 10 to 20 per cent profit.

“Under a new law, we have to be completely clean and safe. No oil, no gas – this factory leaves nothing. It brings us good money, but also allows us to spare the natural resources of our country,” said factory director Hirokazu Nabetani.

And while on some environmental subjects – such as whaling – Japan still comes in for fierce criticism from the international community, Tokyo will have a lot to show and to teach as well.