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Japan could cut Iranian oil import due to US sanctions

Reuters TOKYO | Updated on July 19, 2018 Published on June 22, 2018

Japan could stop importing oil from Iran due to US sanctions. File Photo   -  Reuters

Japan to look at how China and India handle curbs

Japanese oil refiners may have to stop loading Iranian crude oil from October 1 if Japan’s government does not secure an exemption from US sanctions to allow imports to continue, the president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) said on Friday.

If payments to Iran cannot continue after a 180-day “wind-down period” ending on November 4, it is possible that Japanese buyers of Iranian oil will have to make their last order for Iranian oil in August for September-loading cargoes, said Takashi Tsukioka, who is also chairman of Japan’s second-biggest refiner, Idemitsu Kosan Co.

That is because the payment for October-loading cargoes would be made in November, he told a monthly news conference on Friday.

Tsukioka said that Japan, which would have to get a reprieve from the US by November 4 to continue imports, would study the responses of other countries. “I think it’s worth paying attention to what actions that some countries like China and India that raised (Iranian oil) imports during the previous US sanctions would take,” he told reporters.

PAJ’s Senior Managing Director Shinya Okuda added that the Japanese trade ministry has been gathering information on details of the proposed US sanctions.

Tsukioka told some reporters after the news conference that Japan’s refining industry had been bracing for a possible cut in Iranian oil import curbs, while the latest sanctions also raised international payment issues. “In the wake of the last sanctions on Iran, financial institutions became very conservative amid worries that they could not operate in the United States,” he added.

Published on June 22, 2018

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