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TOKYO (Reuters) - The merger of Japan's two largest steelmakers will likely cut steel output at home as they look to expand offshore and will further curb demand for U.N.-backed carbon credits beyond 2012.

Steelmakers in resource-poor Japan have steadily become more efficient since the 1970s and now use 15 to 20 percent less energy to produce a tonne of steel than their counterparts in the United States, Germany, India or China.

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