The 5.1% drop in greenhouse gas emissions marked the seventh consecutive year of declines.

Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions fell to a record low in the fiscal year ending March 2021, government data showed on Friday, as industrial activity slowed amid the pandemic and widespread use of renewable energy.

The 5.1% decline marked the seventh straight year of declines.

Emissions in 2020-21 fell to the equivalent of 1.15 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 1.21 billion tons the previous year.

The 2020-21 level is the lowest since Japan began compiling greenhouse gas emissions data in 1990-91, revised figures from the environment ministry showed.

Japan, the world’s fifth-largest carbon emitter, raised its climate target in April 2021, pledging to reduce emissions by 46 percent from 2013 levels by 2030, instead of 26 percent previously. If this target is achieved, emissions in 2030 will reach 760 million tons.

The 2020-21 figure is down 18.4% from 2013 levels.

“Although emissions have decreased for seven consecutive years, we still have a long way to go to achieve carbon neutrality and cannot be optimistic,” the director of the department, Masayuki Koiwa, told reporters.

“In order to meet the 2030 goal and the 2050 carbon neutrality goal, we need to maximize the use of renewable energy,” he said. The ministry will particularly promote solar power generation to meet the 2030 target, as this method of generating electricity can be quickly applied.

Japan’s emissions surged after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 that shut down nuclear power plants and increased reliance on fossil fuels, but have fallen since peaking at 1.41 billion tonnes in 2013-14.

Ten reactors have been restarted, the most since the Fukushima accident, although only five are currently operating.

In 2020-21, renewable energy accounted for 19.8% of the 1 trillion kWh of power generation, an increase of 1.6 percentage points over the previous year.

Industry ministry data showed that nuclear power fell 2.3 percentage points to 3.9 percent, while thermal power accounted for 76.3 percent, up 0.7 percentage points.