Young voices/Japan: “Look at the root causes!”

Filed by Mikihito Tanaka. «In 30 years, around 2050, I expect that the earth will be worn-out. It is ironic, but I would like to see that world. I would like to continue doing what I can do, and I want to keep doing movements as a member of Fridays…

I want to be able to say that I did what I could to the future generation”, says Takuro Kajiwara (19), leading member of Fridays for Future, Tokyo.

In Japan, he considers typhoons to be major sign of climate change effects. “The massive typhoon approaching now is one example. It was just a month ago when a big typhoon hit the Chiba prefecture. All we can do is take preventive measures.”

He is, however not satisfied with the climate literacy rate in his country. “In Japan, people do not see the root causes. They promote recycling but do not pay attention to reducing. This time, it was recommended to tape the windows to prepare against the typhoon, but it is not a fundamental solution.”

He considers that the “old generation with old thoughts is the main obstacle. They can escape without being affected, and those people invest in coal. It is a problem that they have the power to decide the direction of Japan. They are still sceptical about climate change. Companies, such as banks, have begun to change.”

“The youth awareness is high. So I believe that the youth consciousness will change. Everyone feels some discomfort in society today, so it will change when they grow up.” Regarding individual lifestyle changes, he is sceptical “I cannot expect much for the changes in individual lifestyle. In countries overseas, it is common to be a vegan, not to use plastics, or to have eco-bags. However, in Japan, it is sometimes perceived as religious or shady”.

His message to political leaders is that he wants them “to be conscious of their power. They can realize things right away by legislation. I want them to come to the level of being able to discuss climate change first. I want them to be aware of their power, including their lack of knowledge. And I want them to ask themselves again why they are politicians.”