Kazakhstan supports Japan climate change initiative

TOKYO (Reuters) - Kazakhstan will support Japan’s climate change initiative calling on the world to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to a joint communique by the two countries on Friday.

The communique was signed by visiting Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.

It said Japan and Kazakhstan would work closely together for building an effective, global framework to cut emissions.

“We discussed the possibility of joint cooperation under the Kyoto Protocol,” the president told reporters after the signing ceremony.

“The two nations will also consider implementing projects (in Kazakhstan) using Japan’s energy-saving technologies under the Kyoto Protocol,” he said.

The Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012 and a successor pact is now under discussion to bind major emitters to emissions cuts further ahead.

Separately on Friday, Japan’s Marubeni Corp said it had signed an agreement with Kazakhstan’s Environmental Protection Ministry to jointly promote the development of projects to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Kazakhstan.

Japan, which lacks domestic raw materials, sees Kazakhstan as a potentially important source of mineral resources, such as uranium and rare metals.

Japan’s Toshiba Corp on Friday agreed to expand its partnership with Kazakh state-owned company Kazatomprom to include rare metals and reactor components.

It was the latest move by a Japanese firm to secure raw materials in exchange for technical expertise.

Nazarbayev, who arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday, will be leaving the country on Sunday after visiting Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori, Writing by Miho Yoshikawa