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Japan’s industrial sector can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7 percent from the 1990 levels by 2010 through new technologies, according to an estimate by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The projection, the first of its kind by MITI, is based on the assumption Japan would double nuclear energy production and take further steps to conserve energy. But MITI still claims that making such cuts in the household sector is unwarranted, and that a clear target for cutting Japan’s overall carbon dioxide emissions, as advocated by the Environment Agency, is still difficult.

MITI’s projection was submitted with various policy options Sept. 26 to a joint council of nine government advisory panels. The council, which advises the prime minister, is drawing up measures for cutting greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming.

At a second meeting, 17 experts discussed possible energy-saving measures for business and transportation. “Many members said it is almost impossible to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions without damaging our economy,” Jiro Kondo, chairman of the joint council, told a press briefing after the meeting.

Kondo, who serves as the chairman of the Central Environment Council, also said some members believe nuclear power is vital to reducing emissions. MITI says the industrial sector would be able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 16 million tons by introducing high-efficiency industrial furnaces and boilers, and using substitute fuels.

With those measures, carbon dioxide emissions would total 126 million tons in 2010, compared with 142 million tons without such measures. The MITI report also says further reduction in energy use or such emissions beyond that level would seriously damage the economy, causing unemployment and a Japanese business shift to developing countries. Such a move, MITI says, would eventually lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions on a global basis.

Japan, host to the third Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP3, has so far failed to present its own proposal for binding targets due chiefly to domestic wrangling between MITI and the Environment Agency. The COP3 meeting is to be held in Kyoto in December.

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