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Japanese refiners want US waivers for Iran oil imports

Japanese refiners want to get a sanctions waivers extension from the U.S. government for oil imports from Iran, Takashi Tsukioka, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ), said.

Japanese refiners want US waivers for Iran oil imports
(Friday, April 5, 2019) 05:40
According to the online newspaper 'Japan Today' on Saturday, 'The PAJ head said he believes the government is negotiating with the United States to get such a waiver and that PAJ would support this effort.'

It further wrote that 'Japanese refiners have been asking the government to seek an extension of the U.S. sanctions waivers after the initial 180-day exemption period is over in early May.'

Based on the newspaper's report, 'Japanese officials and their U.S. counterparts met last week in Washington to discuss the U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to a statement from Japan's foreign ministry.'

'Japan has told the U.S. that the sanctions should not negatively affect Japan's stable supply of energy and Japanese companies' operations,' an official at Japan's industry ministry said, although declining to comment on the result of the talks.

Asked if Japan will extend sovereign ship insurance to import Iranian oil to the financial year that starts on April 1, PAJ's Tsukioka said: 'We understand the insurance is due to roll-over. We are just waiting for an announcement.'

In Jan 21, it was announced that the Japanese refiner Fuji Oil was loaded with Iranian crude oil in the first cargo to head for the East Asian country since Tokyo received a waiver from the US sanctions on Tehran.

Japanese Ambassador to Iran Mitsugu Saito said at the time that his country has hard and complex negotiations with the US to buy oil from the Islamic Republic and finally the Japanese oil tanker berthed at Iran's ports.

Iranian oil export share in the Japanese oil market rose up to 6.6 percent in light of 49,000 bpd growth in Iran's oil exports in October, 2018.

After Washington's May 8 exit from the historic Iran Deal, the US gave 90- and 180-day wind-down periods to other countries before it starts re-imposing oil sanctions on Tehran on November 4.

Part of the US' illegitimate sanctions were imposed on Iran on August 9.

The US President Donald Trump has said he would reinstate the US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

However, the US agreed to let eight countries, including Japan, India, South Korea, China and Turkey keep buying Iranian oil after it reimposes sanctions on the OPEC producer on Nov. 5.
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