Photo/IllutrationEnvironment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi meets with Japanese youth on Dec. 12 on the sidelines of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid. (Ichiro Matsuo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi took issue with the haranguing style of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and said he hoped Japanese youth will take a different approach toward tackling climate change.

Koizumi said during a Dec. 20 news conference that he advised young Japanese earlier this month they would be better off trying to "engage all generations rather than simply denouncing adults."

He was referring to a meeting he had with Japanese youngsters on the sidelines of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid.

Koizumi acknowledged that Thunberg's campaign had a huge impact on others of her generation, but said, "Rather than follow after her, I hope you will raise your voices from Japan about a different possible approach."

Thunberg has repeatedly blasted world leaders for doing nothing about global warming.

At the September Climate Action Summit held at U.N. headquarters in New York, Thunberg took the podium and said, "Young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you."

Koizumi was in the audience as part of the Japanese delegation when she made that speech.

Koizumi also touched upon Thunberg's round-trip yacht trip from Europe to the United States and back to attend the COP25. She used the yacht rather than fly to lessen her carbon footprint.

At the Dec. 20 news conference, Koizumi said, "It would be impossible in Japan for everyone to not use air travel."

After Thunberg arrived in Europe earlier in December, she told reporters her decision to travel by yacht was not to encourage other young people to do the same thing, but to get the message across that change was necessary because it is no longer possible to live in a sustainable way.