Japanese Statement at the Fourth Earth Observation Summit by Mr. Kisaburo Tokai, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan

November 30, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Chairman:

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of South Africa for hosting this fourth Ministerial Summit. It is my pleasure to present Japan's efforts to establish GEOSS, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC warned that the impact of climate change is greater than ever, and that it threatens the lives of several regions. At the G8 Heiligendamm Summit in June this year, we discussed this report and reconfirmed the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The international community must speed up the establishment of GEOSS in order to monitor global climate change in a more precise and concerted manner.

In particular, improving the interoperability of observation data from space-based and in-situ observations is an urgent task. It is also essential to enhance capacity-building in developing countries to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries in Earth observation technologies.

Japan has been making every effort to acquire high-precision data through space-based and in-situ observations, and to develop highly reliable projections.

Space-based observation, for example, has allowed us to observe tropical deforestation in the Amazon in cooperation with Brazil. Similarly, we were able to measure the melting of ice in the Arctic ocean in cooperation with the United States.

Through in-situ observation, we have developed with Indonesia a network to monitor heavy tropical rains. We also have successfully estimated the Indian Ocean Dipole mode using our "Earth Simulator".

In the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan, Japan has been strengthening its global observation system from space. We will soon launch satellites for the observation of greenhouse gases and global water cycles. We will provide datasets of Global Digital Elevation Model to GEOSS. Furthermore, we are developing data integration and analysis systems to convert observation data into user-friendly information. In cooperation with Asian countries, we will soon be able to improve disaster preparedness and water resource management.

I hope these activities will be further extended to various regions, and that GEO Members and Participating Organizations will strive to build networks to address global environmental issues and to improve disaster preparedness.

I believe that GEOSS will contribute to restore our global environment while allowing sustained economic growth. Japan will hold an international GEOSS symposium in Tokyo next March to disseminate the outcomes of GEOSS among neighboring regions, and we will plan the organization of similar events in other countries.

Finally, I must underline our duty to preserve our beautiful Earth for the sake of future generations, and to develop a society where we can live in peace and harmony with nature.

We, Japan will continue to do our best to develop GEOSS in cooperation with other GEO Members and Participating organizations.

Thank you for your attention.

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