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Japan greenhouse gas emissions fell 6.2% last year

Japan greenhouse gas emissions fell 6.2% last year

* Emissions 1.286 bln tonnes CO2 equiv vs record 1.371 bln

* Japan meets Kyoto commitments for first time (Adds details, background)

TOKYO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Japan's greenhouse gas emissions sank 6.2 percent to 1.286 billion tonnes in carbon dioxide equivalent in the year to March from a record 1.371 billion tonnes a year earlier, government data showed on Wednesday.

It is the first year in which Japan, the world's fifth-largest polluter, has met its Kyoto Protocol commitments to fight against global warming.

Japan's 2008/09 emissions were up 1.9 pct from the Kyoto protocol's 1990/91 base year, the data showed.

The government is to finalise Wednesday's figures in April.

The steep fall in 2008/09 came despite the utilisation rate of the country's nuclear power plants staying as low as a year earlier. Nuclear power is carbon-free and plays a key role in Japan's emission-cutting plans to meet its Kyoto goals.

Instead, the fall in emissions mainly reflected a slump in industrial activity in 2008/09, when the world's No.2 economy shrank 3.2 percent and the number of people who lost their jobs rose by a hefty 640,000. [ID:nT179477] (Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Michael Watson

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