The topic of global warming will be high on the agenda at next month's Group of Eight summit, where host Germany wants members countries to agree to halve carbon emissions by 2050.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan was willing to take leadership on building a framework to extend beyond 2012 the Kyoto protocol on cutting carbon emissions, named after the country's ancient capital where it was signed in 1997.
''I am considering an appropriate target, including numerical targets, but I cannot tell you about it at this stage,'' Abe told reporters yesterday.
Japan, which has said the environment will be a key issue when it hosts the G8 summit next year, has been stressing the need to cut down on emissions.
Abe brought up the issue when he met US President George W Bush during a visit to Washington last month. The United States has refused to ratify the Kyoto protocol and is believed to be against setting any numerical targets for the future.
''Any target must be beneficial to setting up a framework that many countries would participate in and would prevent global warming,'' Abe said.
Abe will meet British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett today in Tokyo, where she is to speak about climate change at a seminar sponsored by Japan's biggest business lobby.
Beckett during a visit to Hong Kong yesterday urged China, the world's second-largest emitter of carbon emissions after the United States, to join global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases or face the prospect of slower economic growth.
REUTERS SM VV0934