Japan, China talk on cooperation to tackle smog

China Featured Japan - February 25th, 2013

Japanese officials met with their Chinese counterparts in Beijing as part of a ramping up of efforts to tackle the country’s worsening air pollution.

Representatives from Japan’s environment, foreign and industry ministries expressed concern over China’s air pollution in the two-hour talks with the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, the first meeting between the neighbors since concentration of harmful PM 2.5 particles reached critical levels throughout the country.

Tokyo said it is “highly concerned” that the smog could spread across the border and cause serious risks to the environment and health.

Japanese officials also said that it would be “in the common interests of both countries” to cooperate in monitoring China’s air using Japanese technology, such as electron mircroscopes and other devices to identify pollutants, along with its pollution-simulation technology.

Tokyo said the cooperation would be “instrumental” in fighting PM 2.5 particles, which is believed to raise the risk of asthma, lung cancer and other diseases.

Both sides agreed to continue with the talks, a source said.

Authorities in Tokyo issued health warnings early this month after the smog that engulfed China apparently blew over the ocean towards Japan, sending air pollution to hazardous levels.