TOKYO – The G20 energy and environment ministers began on Saturday a meeting in Japan’s mountainous region of Nagano where energy supply guarantees and plastic waste reduction will form focus of the talks.
“The situation over energy and climate change issues among G20 members vary and it is not easy to unite one message concerning those issues,” said the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko, Kyodo news agency reported.
Despite this, G20 ministers will seek to send a message of solidarity to the world, he added.
Energy supply has become a central point of debate at the summit in the resort town of Karuizawa after two tankers were attacked Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, an incident for which the United States holds Iran responsible and which has increased tension in the Middle East, causing crude oil prices to rise.
The issue is particularly sensitive for Japan, as one of the vessels was Japanese and the country depends on the region for most of its oil supply, given the scarcity of resources in the archipelago.
The attacks were particularly significant as they occurred during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Tehran in an attempt to act as a mediator to ease tensions caused by the US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal that was signed by five other global powers in 2015.
Part of the G20 ministerial agenda were other environmental issues such as the debate on climate change, the use of clean energy and the reduction of plastic waste in the oceans.
About 300 million tons of plastic waste is produced each year, of which 8 million tons end up in the oceans, according to United Nations data.
The issue “is a global problem that needs to be addressed by both the public and private sector,” said Seko.
A joint declaration is expected to be adopted at the end of the ministerial meeting Sunday which will then be addressed at the G20 Summit on June 28-29 in Osaka, western Japan.
The G20 group consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United States and the European Union.