TOKYO - Like the United States, Japan is in a tough spot.
It too has seen its carbon dioxide emissions go up since 1990. But as host of the global warming treaty conference in December, Japan wants to make a good impression on the rest of the world.
The latest numbers show how far Japan must go to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Japan released 332 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the air in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1996, up 8.3 percent from the 1990 level.
An estimated 20 percent of Japan's carbon dioxide emissions come from vehicles.
On the agenda for Kyoto: setting targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions between 2000 and 2010. However, Tokyo has yet to submit its own target, because of difficulty in reaching a consensus among the various ministries and industries affected.
In an attempt to show a good-faith effort to reduce emissions, Tokyo is putting together a package of measures aimed at reducing carbon dioxide. It wants to be able to show that it is taking action, even if the results are not in yet.
Under a government directive already in place, gasoline-powered cars sold in 2000 are required to be, on average, 8.5 percent more fuel efficient than those sold in 1990.
Separately, an advisory panel to the Ministry of Transport has recommended a sweeping revision in the way taxes are levied on cars in Japan. Instead of the current system of taxing cars based on their engine size, the panel recommended that cars be taxed according to their fuel efficiency.