Faced with increasing calls from environmentalists to phase out coal, Japan is standing by its support of the fossil fuel, saying it will help developing countries adopt the best available technologies for coal-fired power plants.

Pressure to rein in carbon dioxide emissions is intensifying, especially after the Paris Agreement, a global deal reached in December to tackle climate change. Environmentalists have criticized Japan for being one of the biggest providers of coal financing among Group of Seven nations and for being a laggard in switching to cleaner energy sources.

In response, Japan says it is helping to develop more efficient coal-fired plants that can cut carbon dioxide emissions. The nation's financing of coal-fired projects is also helping to improve energy security in countries that still rely on the cheap fuel, officials say.