An event attended by the U.S. ambassador to Japan was disrupted Friday by environmental activists protesting Washington's exploration of natural gas resources in Alaska for future exports.

Some 10 activists abruptly gathered on and in front of the stage at the event in New York, interrupting Rahm Emanuel's remarks by chanting slogans such as "No Alaska LNG," referring to liquefied natural gas, and "No More Gas."

Emanuel remained seated and safe on the stage. The demonstrators were ejected from the venue by guards about 10 minutes later.

Environmental activists invade the stage at an event in New York on Oct. 20, 2023, as U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel remains seated. (Kyodo)

The activists were in the audience at the beginning of the event. They suddenly stood up, unfurled a banner and launched their protest action while Emanuel was talking about the importance of Japan as a U.S. ally in the Indo-Pacific area.

After the activists had been removed, Emanuel defended the U.S. government's energy projects involving Alaska. He also described LNG as a "transitional energy," saying Japan and other countries must reduce their reliance on it and other energy resources from Russia.

In October last year, Emanuel said in a statement that he was pleased to join officials from the United States and Japan in a meeting "to discuss how Alaska LNG can provide stable, sustainable, and affordable energy sources to Japan."

During the New York event, the top U.S. envoy to Japan also criticized China for a lack of transparency in efforts to determine the origin of the novel coronavirus, which was first detected in the central city of Wuhan and caused the global COVID-19 pandemic.

China "did not invite world health organizations" to help cope with the health crisis, he said, contrasting the approach with Japan's handling of the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and praising Tokyo for its work with international organizations.


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