• Kyodo

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Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 3.1 percent in fiscal 2014 from a year earlier, dropping for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Environment Ministry said in a revised report released Friday.

The gas emissions totaled the equivalent of 1.36 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the fiscal year ended March 2015.

The decline reflects the increasing use of renewable energy and falling electricity demand on the back of the introduction of more energy-efficient devices.

Meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 led to a nationwide shutdown of nuclear reactors and forced utilities to rely more on coal-fired and other types of power plants.

Last year, Japan restarted nuclear reactors for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The emissions in fiscal 2014 declined 2.4 percent from fiscal 2005 levels but the ministry estimates they dropped 6.5 percent from that year’s levels, taking into account the effect of carbon dioxide being absorbed by plants.

The result means Japan met a goal of a more than 3.8 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by fiscal 2020 from fiscal 2005 levels.

But the ministry said it will continue its efforts to reduce gas emissions as carbon dioxide absorption by plants could decline as they grow.

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