Japan will strengthen efforts to support shifts by Asian countries away from coal to use of liquefied natural gas in power generation to reduce carbon emissions, in the hope of lowering procurement costs for the energy source, the industry ministry said.

As the world's largest LNG consumer, Japan expects increased demand for the fuel — which is less polluting than coal — to lead to greater production by countries in the region and a diversification of suppliers, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Tokyo is looking to broaden LNG procurement from the nation's main suppliers, such as Australia, Qatar and the United States, to include more Asian producers, which mostly do not have sufficient infrastructure for exports.