UPDATE 2-Japan says not seeking exemption from Kyoto CO2 pledge

* Report that Tokyo seeking exemption groundless -foreign
ministry

* Kyoto pledge calls for 6 pct emissions cut from 1990
levels in 2008-2012

* Climate delegates in Bangkok show sympathy, not pick holes

* Longer-term target of 25 pct cut by 2020 may be reviewed

(Adds comments from climate conference delegates in Bangkok)

By Risa Maeda

TOKYO, April 5 (Reuters) – Japan is not seeking an exemption
from its Kyoto Protocol pledges to cut greenhouse gases, a
government official said on Tuesday, despite a nuclear safety
crisis that could hamper efforts to reduce its use of fossil
fuels.

Japan remains committed to achieving reduced emissions in
the 2008-2012 period averaging 6 percent less than its 1990
level, said Takehiro Kano, director of the Climate Change
Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He dismissed as groundless a report in the Nikkei financial
daily that Japan would ask other signatories to the protocol for
an exemption from its Kyoto obligations after a devastating
earthquake and tsunami last month severely damaged its Fukushima
nuclear complex, a key source of power for the Tokyo area.

“We have neither made such a decision nor started
negotiations with overseas participants,” Kano said, adding that
Japan had met its emission reductions obligations in the first
two years of the five-year protocol period.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano also said on Tuesday
that Japan was still concentrating its energies on assessing the
impact of the disaster and proceeding with recovery efforts, and
had not considered any measures or made any decisions on its
greenhouse emissions target.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated
coastal areas of northeast Japan and knocked out Tokyo Electric
Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant 240 km (150
miles) north of Tokyo, triggering radiation leaks and prompting
new safety measures at Japanese reactors. [ID:nL3E7F42CD]

The protracted nuclear crisis has cast doubts over ambitious
longer-term carbon emissions targets, which rely heavily on
boosting nuclear power generation.

REVIEW AFTER CRISIS

Tokyo has not said explicitly that it will consider backing
away from its 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
by 25 percent from 1990 levels, but a revision of energy policy
in light of the Fukushima crisis could pave the way for a review
of its emissions goals. [ID:nLDE7331FX]

For the short term, the possibility of Japan declaring the
equivalent of a force majeure against its 2008-2012 commitments
has not been a focus at U.N. climate talks in Bangkok, which aim
to agree on steps to ramp up the fight against global warming.

Delegate comments towards Japan have emphasised sympathy in
the aftermath of the disaster, which has left nearly 28,000 dead
or missing.