Japan has guaranteed the US government of cutting down further its reliance on Iran for crude oil imports. The statement came as Japan’s Finance Minister Jun Azumi met with Tim Geithner, US Treasury secretary, who arrived in Tokyo on Thursday as part of the US’ oil lobbying effort that seeks to add pressure on Iran, The Financial Times reported.
Geithner commended Japan’s support to the US which has started sanctioning financial institutions which deal with Iran’s central banks in an effort to put greater international pressure to Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Although Japan intends to undertake concrete action on reducing oil imports from Iran at the soonest time, said action will be in a “planned way”. Government officials acknowledge an abrupt action may adversely affect the already struggling economic recovery of Japan in the wake of the March 11 disaster by a possible upsetting of oil supply and increase in oil prices.
Japan is the third biggest buyer of Iran crude oil, following China and India. Ten percent (10%) of Japan’s crude oil is imported from Iran. For its part, the US had refrained from importing Iranian oil since October 1987.
As the world’s third-largest oil exporter, Iran provides about 2.3m barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asian nations.