Japan’s greenhouse gas pollution fell 6.2% in the last financial year, the government has announced.

The fall in emissions confirms market predictions that the worst recession in decades largely contributed to emission cuts, writes Reuters.

Emissions under the first year of the Kyoto Protocol targets totalled 1.286 billion tons of CO2-equivalent, representing a 6.2% decline compared to 1.371 billion tons in the year ending March 2008.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1.186 billion tons per year over the five years, to March 2013.

Carbon emissions from energy usage, which constitutes 88% of Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions, declined 6.7% to 1.14 billion tons in 2008/2009.

The government and companies have purchased millions of tons of emissions offsets to help Japan reach its 2008-12 Kyoto goal in transactions, worth billions of dollars at current prices.

The Kyoto goal involves 20 million tons a year of emissions rights that Japan plans to purchase from overseas as well as expenditure on forest conservation to absorb 48 million tons of CO2 a year.