Last night I had dinner with Japan´s Finance Minister Koji Omi at the home of Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa in Madrid. During dinner we spoke at about the coming STS Forum in Kyoto that Minister Omi chairs and I will attend. This global conference –whose objective is to raise awareness on key challenges to the sustainability of our planet– has already been held 3 times before. Around 30% of the participants are Japanese and the rest from all over the world.
Personally, I found Minister Koji Omi to be a man with a strong sense of moral commitment to improve the state of the planet. His interest is to transcend beyond Japanese politics and to have global impact. This is good because Japan currently has an developmental model that is more friendly to the environment than the United States and its environmental footprint per dollar of GDP is among the lowest in the world.
But as I heard about the STS Forum that I will attend this October I had a few concerns. The first one related to the name of the summit, Lights and Shadows, a name that I felt that may sound well in Japanease but I thought was a bit too vague to explain what the summit was about. The second one related to the role of China. While China is part of the Summit, I believe that since China will surpass USA next year as the most destabilizing country in terms of planetary survival, I think that no serious action on environmental issues can take place without getting China on the table.
On this subject I said that I felt it was a big mistake on China´s part to see USA as a developmental model and not Japan, since Japan achieves much more GDP output per unit of energy consumed than USA. But, unfortunately, Koreans, Chinese and Japanese have still not gotten over the animosities of WWII and have less possibilities for more collaboration. I would like to thank Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa for a great dinner at his residence.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars