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Japan: Govt to Set New Target for Greenhouse Gas Cuts
Source: yomiuri.co.jp
Source Date: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, ICT for MDGs
Country: Japan
Created: Jan 29, 2013

The government plans to set a new goal for the country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, officials said Friday.

The government will come up with the new goal and measures to achieve it by November when a U.N. climate conference is scheduled to be held, the officials said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and other related Cabinet ministers to review the current goal of cutting emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from the 1990 levels.

Japan will "develop an aggressive climate strategy to allow it contribute to the world through technologies," Abe said at a meeting of his Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization.

The 25 percent reduction goal was announced at a U.N. General Assembly session in September 2009 by then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama soon after his Democratic Party of Japan took power.

But the country has faced difficulty achieving the goal since the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant made it difficult to continue an energy policy that relies heavily on nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gasses.

Even the previous DPJ-led administration had worked to review the goal after concluding that the emission reduction would end up being only 5 percent to 9 percent in 2020.

Abe took office last month after his Liberal Democratic Party ousted the DPJ from power in parliamentary elections.

Speaking at a press conference, Ishihara indicated that setting a single numerical reduction goal may be difficult.

"As long as whether nuclear plants will be restarted remains uncertain, any specific figure is unlikely to be considered," Ishihara said.

Japan has no plans or laws covering its fight against global warming starting in April as the country is no longer obligated to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The Environment Ministry plans to submit a bill to revise the law on the fight against global warming to the upcoming regular session of the Diet starting Monday.
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