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The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to revise a law so vehicles can use an environmentally friendly biomass fuel that would help Japan meet its obligations in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

METI wants to classify the mixture of gasoline and alcohol as a fuel to be controlled under the law governing the quality of gasoline, sources said Sunday. The fuel is made from biomass, or organic matter, including wood waste.

The inclusion would mark the first time Japan has authorized a biomass fuel as an energy resource.

The ministry will submit the proposed revision to the Diet during the current ordinary session, hoping it will be put into force three months after its enactment, they said. The 150-day Diet session ends in June.

Biomass fuel is considered an indispensable tool for industrialized nations to fulfill their obligations under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Carbon dioxide released during the combustion of alcohol from biomass fuel is not counted among greenhouse gas emissions each nation must cut.

Gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol is already being sold in the United States.

If the revision is enacted, METI will formulate an ordinance stipulating quality standards for biomass fuel. Only products meeting METI’s standards of safety, effectiveness and environmental friendliness would be authorized for sale.

Vehicles using gasoline mixed with an excessively high density of alcohol can catch on fire.

Under the Kyoto pact, industrialized nations must slash their greenhouse-gas emissions from 1990 levels by an average of 5.2 percent between 2008 and 2012. Japan must cut them by 6 percent in the same time frame.

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