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Tokyo wants gas exploration deal with China: official

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 1, 2007
Japan wants to reach an accord with China over exploring lucrative gas fields in the East China Sea by the beginning of 2008, an official here said Saturday.

The Asian nations, two of the world's largest energy importers, are locked in a disagreement over the boundaries of their territorial waters. Eleven previous rounds of talks on the issue since 2004 have failed to reach a breakthrough.

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his counterpart Masahiko Komura spent a good part of their talks Saturday discussing the "sensitive" subject, said Mitsuo Sakaba, a spokesman for Japan's foreign ministry.

"We shared the same view that this matter should be solved before the visit of the Japanese prime minister to China at the end of this year or early next year," he said.

"The two ministers touched upon various aspects of this issue but we could not reach so-called solution," he said.

Sakaba said resolving the dispute was not a prerequisite for organising Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's visit to China, seen as a further sign of warming relations between the two countries.

China began drilling in the gas-rich area in 2003, having rejected a maritime border that Japan takes as the starting point for discussions. Beijing says its economic zone stretches nearly as far east as Japan's Okinawa island chain.

Both sides have blamed each another for failing to reaching a deal.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, on a rare visit to Tokyo in April, called for the two countries to resolve the maritime row peacefully, although Beijing has stood by its territorial claims.

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Japan firm announces first carbon spot trade
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 30, 2007
A Japanese company said Friday it had conducted the world's first spot trade in carbon credits, predicting the nascent market will grow as countries step up efforts to tackle global warming.

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