The 2.9 per cent decline marks six consecutive years of cuts and comes against a surge in global greenhouse emissions to a record in 2019.
Emissions for 2019/20 fell to 1.21 billion metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent, from 1.25 billion tonnes the previous year, to hit their lowest since 1990/91, when Japan began compiling data on greenhouse gas emissions, revised data from the environment ministry shows.
Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter, has set a goal to cut emissions by 26 per cent to 1.04 billion tonnes by 2030 compared with 2013 levels. The latest figure represents a reduction of 14 per cent from the 2013/14 levels, data showed.
The government is considering raising its 2030 target in light of the ambitious long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
Japan’s emissions surged after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima led to the closure of nuclear power plants and boosted reliance on fossil fuels, but have declined from the peak of 1.41 billion tonnes hit in 2013/14.
Nine reactors have been restarted, the most since the Fukushima incident, though only seven reactors are currently operating.
Renewable energy accounted for 18 per cent of electric power generation of 1.02 trillion kilowatt hour (kWh) in the 2019 financial year, up 1 percentage point on the year.
Nuclear energy was steady at 6 per cent, while thermal power made up 76 per cent, down 1 percentage point, industry ministry data showed. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Mike Harrison)