Japan's crude oil imports from Iran in September fell 36,1 percent from a year earlier, data from the trade ministry showed on Wednesday, as Western sanctions continued to squeeze exports from the Middle Eastern country, Reuters reported.
The Islamic Republic is under intense financial pressure from U.S. and European trade restrictions imposed over its disputed nuclear programme. Iran denies all accusations, claiming its nuclear program is of civilian nature.
The bans have led to a sharp drop over the past year in its oil exports, a major source of hard currency earnings and revenues for the government. Iran banned exports of 50 basic goods to preserve essential items on Tuesday as the sanctions bite.
Japan, the world's third-biggest oil consumer, imported 891,300 kilolitres (186,870 barrels per day) of Iranian crude last month, compared with 1,395,238 kl a year earlier and 497,961 kl in the previous month. (1 kl=6.2898 barrels)
Under the pressure of the sanctions on Iran, Japan has been decreasing its purchase of Iran's oil, ever since 2011. Last year, Japan's crude imports from Iran fell by 11.7 percent to 313,000 barrels per day, considering that Japan is the third major importer of Iranian crude.
Being also one of the world's biggest oil importers, last year Japan bought almost 9 percent of its crude from Iran and its dependence on fuel imports has increased since the 2011 natural disaster.
The country imported over 313,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil per day last year. Cutting down 20 percent off that amount would bring the oil imports to less than 250,000 in 2012, according to Reuters.
Edited by: S. Isayev