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Japan Eyes Medium-Term Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goal

May 23, 2008

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita indicated Friday that Japan may consider a specific medium-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 2020-30.

Speaking at a forum in Tokyo, Kamoshita appeared eager to lead discussions on emissions reduction targets when he meets with his counterparts from other members of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in Kobe from Saturday. Many developed countries want to halve emissions worldwide from current levels by 2050.

Japan is expected to adopt a long-term goal to reduce its emissions 60-80% by 2050. However, with debate heating up about creating a global agreement on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2013, many government officials said until recently that Japan could not set a medium-term reduction target.

South Korean Environment Minister Lee Maanee, who participated in a panel discussion with Kamoshita, called on Japan to help train experts in energy-saving technology. Although South Korea is exempt from having to meet a certain emissions reduction target under the current Kyoto pact, it will likely be subject to such requirements under the post-Kyoto agreement.

Another panelist, Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, called on industrialized nations to accelerate their efforts to transfer energy-saving technology.

The discussions took place at The Future of Asia forum sponsored by Nikkei Inc.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.