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Japan postponing launch of emission trading system

Japan on Tuesday postponed the creation of a greenhouse gas emission trading system by a year until after April 2014 in the face of strong resistance from the business lobby, news reports said.

The centre-left government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan had planned to launch the system — in which companies would essentially buy and sell ‘licences to pollute’ — in the fiscal year starting in April 2013.

But his environment and other ministers decided to postpone the plan, saying the country will first "carefully consider it," Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported. Immediate confirmation was not available.

A carbon-trading system sets a cap on the pollutants companies can emit and then forces heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less — creating financial incentives to cut emissions.

Japan has long championed the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, named after its ancient capital.

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