Japan’s oil Imports from Iran fall over 30 percent in February
Japan's crude oil imports from Iran fell 32.7 percent from a year ago to 1.41 million kiloliters in February, according to data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Business Week reported.
This compares with total oil purchases that rose 2.7 percent to 17.76 million kiloliters in the month, according to figures released today by METI.
Oil product sales rose 7.3 percent to 18.7 million kiloliters, while exports fell 36 percent to 1.56 million kiloliters, the data showed. Fuel imports gained 14 percent to 3.44 million kiloliters.
South Korea, Japan and other U.S. allies have been scrambling to voluntarily reduce Iranian oil imports in hopes of winning waivers from penalties imposed by a new U.S. law on Iran sanctions that takes effect this year.
The law, signed by President Barack Obama on Dec 31 in his latest effort to pressure Tehran over its nuclear programme, targets foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank or other blacklisted Iranian financial entities.
Obama has until March 30 to decide whether the price and supply levels of non-Iranian oil and fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in global markets are sufficient for countries to "significantly" reduce their Iranian purchases.
Iran, the world's third-largest oil exporter, has been locked in a high-stakes standoff with the West over its nuclear program.
The U.S. and Europe think Iran may be working on a nuclear bomb and are applying pressure on Iran to open its facilities to inspection.
European Union countries and Japan have scaled back purchases of Iranian crude. And a banking services firm also has made it tougher for Iran to sell its oil by blocking financial transactions with major Iranian banks.
Edited by: S. Isayev