( dpa ) - Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pledged on Friday to make Japan a "low-carbon society" and set up a financial system to help developing nations tackle environmental problems.
With a mind to host the Group of Eight summit meeting in July, Fukuda addressed told lawmakers on the first day of the regular Diet session that he planned to develop innovative technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions and create a financial mechanism to join the effort to fight global warming.
"Our country ... has realized the world's highest energy efficiency. By using such 'environmental power' to the fullest, I will promote a shift to a low-carbon society, which will serve as a precedent for the world," Fukuda said in his policy speech.
On foreign and defence policies, Fukuda said he would consider establishing a permanent law that would allow Japan's Self-Defence Forces' (SDF) deployment to implement "international peacekeeping activities swiftly and effectively."
Fukuda failed to win approval to extend the SDF refueling mission from the opposition bloc, which holds the majority in the upper house.
But the Japanese government passed a law last Friday with a two-thirds majority in the more powerful lower house to dispatch SDF ships to the Indian Ocean for another year to assist international allies in the Afghan conflict.
Two vessels were ordered to depart from Japanese ports next week.
The prime minister said he would deepen ties with other Asian nations while keeping Japan's close alliance with the United States.
Japan would also continue supporting the international efforts to denuclearize North Korea and negotiating for the return of all Japanese nationals who were abducted by Pyongyang in the 1970s and '80s.