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Last Updated:[07-09-2010 01:35:54 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Japan Backs Ecuador on Protecting Oil-rich Ecological Site

tradenews Ecuador's "revolutionary" project to establish a trust fund in association with the UN Development Program to protect an ecological site in an oil-rich area of the country's Amazon rainforests will now have the support of Japan. Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, President of the Republic of Ecuador who is on a four-day trip to Japan is understood to have received a positive reply from the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on that.

Ecuador signed a deal with the UN agency last month to launch the fund to collect “compensation” for leaving untouched an estimated 850mn barrels of crude oil lying under the country’s Yasuni National Park. The site is home to indigenous tribes, and considered to be one of the most diverse biological reserves in the world.

It is estimated that more than 400mn metric tons of carbon will be turned off from being discharged into the atmosphere by not opening up the Ecuadoran site for oil production. The newly launched fund is aimed at collecting $3.6bn, about half the potential revenue that could be generated through tapping the oil.

Correa opined that the retention of clean air which would have been emitted by Amazon forests should be regarded as a "resource" as it could help prevent further damage to the already fragile global eco-system. He also said it was the international community’s responsibility to support countries which come forward to protect their environment while not swapping it for profit. Germany, France, Belgium and Chile have expressed their support for the Ecuadorian initiative, Correa added.

Besides, both nations agreed to make the UN biodiversity conference to be held in Japan next month a success. Whereas, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Armando Patino Aroca informed his Japanese counterpart Katsuya Okada that the country could protect foreign investments as the Correa Administration was the first stable government in years in Ecuador.

Ever since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1918, Japan has provided Ecuador several grants to perk up the relatively poor Latin American country. Ecuador’s exports to Japan including banana, fish meal and wood chip reached $164mn in 2009, and imports, mainly, automobile, machinery and steel recorded $506mn during the same period.

By Jose Roy

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