Japan's oil industry is likely to reduce its purchases of Iranian crude in about three months time, Akihiko Tembo, President of the Petroleum Association of Japan, said on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Tembo did not provide any further details.
Japan is under pressure to cut its oil imports from Iran as Japanese banks need to gain a waiver from U.S. sanctions designed to hamper Iran's ability to sell oil overseas.
On Wednesday, Japan's finance minister Jun Azumi said that he's concerned about the effectiveness of proposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, as well as their potential impact on Japanese banks.
Speaking at the the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan that if the sanctions were imposed immediately, they could sustain "tremendous" damage to Japanese banks.
"We want to take steps to keep the damage to the Japanese economy to a minimum," Azumi said.
The sanctions, targeting Iran's oil exports in an attempt to halt what Western governments say is its effort to develop nuclear weapons, would bar financial institutions from the American market if they do business with Iran's central bank.
Tehran claims the reactors are for civilian energy use and scientific research.
Japan imports about 9 percent of its oil from Iran. Analysts say Japan will likely turn to other major oil suppliers to offset any further declines from the Islamic Republic.
Edited by: S. Isayev