'Minamata' mercury treaty conference kicks off in Japan
TOKYO (AFP) - A UN conference to sign a historic treaty aimed at reining in the use and emission of mercury began on Monday in Kumamoto, near Minamata, the site of Japan's worst-ever industrial poisoning.
Delegates from some 140 countries and regions are scheduled to attend the five-day conference in the country's southwest, organisers said.
The conference comes after a January agreement on details of the world's first legally binding treaty on mercury, a highly toxic metal.
Preparatory meetings kicked off on Monday at the venue, the organisers said, while local media said the treaty is likely to be adopted unanimously on Thursday.