By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Tokyo
Japan is to propose the fight against global warming as a main discussion topic at a Group of Eight nations summit later this year.
Japan wants nations to achieve consensus on cutting emissions
The Japanese government takes over the chairmanship of the G8 group of industrialised nations on 1 January.
It also wants to discuss development in Africa, high oil prices and preventing nuclear proliferation at the summit.
Talks on how best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions once the Kyoto Protocol expires look set to dominate events.
The G8 summit is a rare opportunity for the leaders of some of the world's richest countries to come together, face to face, to thrash out issues that affect them all.
Japanese officials say the small gathering offers a chance for frank talking.
The Kyoto agreement on measures to reduce carbon emissions is due to expire in 2012.
The Japanese say that leaves just two years for new limits to be agreed in time for implementation in a post-Kyoto framework.
It is not going to be easy. The G8 leaders have already pledged to, in their words, consider seriously halving carbon emissions from current levels by 2050.
But there is widespread disagreement about how to achieve that.
Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Masaharu Kono is leading the negotiations on the G8 agenda for Japan.
He says it is vital the leaders agree concrete steps on how to move the process forward when they meet, if the UN push for agreement on measures to combat global warming is to succeed.
"Without any common understanding among G8 leaders, we have to be very pessimistic about the outcome of the United Nations process," he said.
"Of course certainly major carbon emitters like China, India and others, their participation is also very important, but without the common understanding among G8 leaders, I wonder whether that might be a non-starter.
"So a common notion to be shared by G8 countries is very, very important."
Among other issues, Japan will be pushing for greater cooperation to prevent the spread of nuclear technology.
It will also be pressing for a statement about the importance of promoting nuclear disarmament and ensuring non-proliferation.
Japan also plans to call for greater international cooperation to promote better health in the poorest countries in the world.
On the economic front it wants to press for better policy coordination among the world's major economies in order to cope with surging and volatile oil prices.