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Emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases dropped 3.5 percent to the carbon equivalent of 1.336 billion tons in fiscal 1998 from the previous year, according to an Environment Agency report released Friday.

Presented at the third gathering of a Cabinet-level group to promote measures to halt global warming, the report on global warming policy shows greenhouse gas emissions have shrunk for the second consecutive year and now stand 5 percent above 1990 levels.

Environment Agency officials say the decline in emissions is due largely to a drop in the industrial sector, attributing the reduction in part to economic stagnation. Household-generated greenhouse gas emissions are also likely to drop due to a jump in electricity supplied from nuclear power, energy-saving home appliances and heightened interest by consumers in saving energy.

“I think the efforts of citizens and companies to reduce energy consumption is beginning to show results. But we still have a lot of work to do,” agency Director General Yoriko Kawaguchi said.

Japan must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent of 1990 levels by 2012 in line with the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted at the third Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 1997.

Despite the decline seen in fiscal 1998, emissions still recorded a 5 percent rise over 1990 levels.

Carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas released from the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and cement production, decreased 3.8 percent in fiscal 1998 from a year before to 1.188 billion tons, or 9.39 tons per person.

The next meeting of the parties to the treaty will take place in November in The Hague.

Dioxin curb targeted

Japan aims to slash dioxin emissions to between 843 grams and 891 grams by fiscal 2002, the Environment Agency said Friday.

The target — which represents a 90 percent drop from the 1997 level of around 7,300 — has been approved by the Conference on Environmental Pollution Control, chaired by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori.

The figures were outlined in a national plan to reduce dioxin emissions drawn up as required by the Law Concerning Special Measures Against Dioxin.

Under the plan, the government intends to reduce dioxin emissions from waste incineration, which was somewhere between 6,841 and 7,092 grams in 1997, to between 576 grams and 622 grams. Apart from waste incineration, industrial activities, namely steel production, will account for 264 grams of dioxin emissions.

The plan also outlines measures and obligations articulated in other legislation for companies, municipalities and the central government to reduce dioxin emissions.

The pollution control conference also approved a plan to continue pollution prevention programs in six regions for another five years.

The six areas, centered around Aomori, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Kagawa, Niigata and Shizuoka prefectures, are among 34 targeted problem areas nationwide.

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