WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Japan on Friday called on international financial institutions to continue supporting natural gas projects in developing countries if they are deemed in each case to be the most effective means to reduce greenhouse emissions.
The proposal was made during a virtual meeting of the Development Committee, a joint panel of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, according to the Japanese government.
Emphasizing the importance of making "collective efforts" to reduce emissions in developing countries toward the Paris agreement's goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5 C, the Japanese government said the "most efficient measure" should be implemented by taking into account each country's circumstances.
The Japanese government argued that if multilateral development banks are required to refrain from supporting projects just because they are related to natural gas, it would be a worse outcome for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, adding, "It is not sensible."
Japan outlined criteria for providing aid in such cases, such as when there is no alternative option that can achieve lower cumulative emissions over the life of each project, and when it cannot be financed solely by a developing country itself or private funds.
Japan has made its position clear amid questions raised in the United States and elsewhere over whether international development institutions should continue backing projects involving natural gas. When burned, the fossil fuel emits carbon dioxide, but in a quantity that is lower than equivalent coal or oil.
The Japanese government, meanwhile, expressed support for the World Bank's policy of not supporting new coal projects.