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Japan on Wednesday urged emerging economies whose emissions of greenhouse gases have been on the rise to “play a responsible role” in the global fight against climate change, stressing the need to establish “a truly fair and effective international framework” to curb global warming.

State Foreign Secretary Yutaka Banno said in a speech at a symposium in Tokyo that it is necessary to “duly reflect the basic structural changes under way in the international community” in designing a post-Kyoto Protocol framework to combat global warming beyond 2012.

“Developed countries accounted for 65 percent of global emissions in 1990, but that percentage had decreased to 49 percent by 2007 and it continues to decline,” Banno said. “Developed countries need to take the lead in tackling climate change, but at the same time emerging economies are expected to play a responsible role.”

He reiterated Tokyo’s opposition to establishing a new commitment period under the 1997 protocol, which covers only 27 percent of global heat-trapping gas emissions. The current commitment period for developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto treaty will expire in 2012.

The United States has refused to ratify the Kyoto pact, while major emerging economies including China and India are not obliged under the treaty to slash their emissions.

Banno said Japan’s stance stems from “the view of protecting global interests” and called for a new international framework involving all major economies to prevent a gap in the implementation of emissions-cut measures among countries.

Japan came under fire for its stance on the Kyoto treaty at a U.N. climate meeting in Cancun, Mexico, late last year, but Banno stressed that Tokyo will “constructively contribute to discussions.”

“It is by no means correct to say that Japan is not active in its efforts to combat climate change,” he said.

Banno said Tokyo will steadily uphold its pledge to provide $15 billion by 2012 to help developing countries better cope with climate change. Of the amount, Japan has already disbursed $7.2 billion, he added.

Japan, which has set an ambitious goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, plans to reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 1990 levels in 2030, Banno said.

The symposium was held ahead of a two-day informal meeting on climate change in Tokyo that was set to kick off Thursday, bringing together climate negotiators from about 30 countries.

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