After hitting every strata of life, the recent economic downturn in Japan finally took its toll on Greenhouse gas emissions by bringing the level down by 6.4 per cent to 1.28 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in fiscal year 2008, as the country's domestic industries reeled under financial crisis, the Environment Ministry said.
The amount for the year to March 2009 is the first below 1.3 billion since 1995, when the ministry started including alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons and some other substances in its emissions data.
But emissions still remained 1.6 per cent above the level for fiscal 1990, the base year set by the Kyoto Protocol for emissions cuts.
Carbon dioxide emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels dropped in all categories, 10.4 per cent at factories and plants, 4.9 per cent at households, 4.1 percent in transportation activities and 3.3 per cent at business offices.
Warm winter temperatures played a part in the decreased emissions at households and offices, where less kerosene and electricity for heating were used compared with the previous year, according to the ministry. Under the 1997 protocol, Japan is required to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent on average between fiscal 2008 and 2012 compared to 1990 levels.