News / Asia

Japan Expresses New Caution About Cutting Iranian Oil Imports

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during press conference in Tokyo, January 13, 2012
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during press conference in Tokyo, January 13, 2012

Japan's government has backed away from comments by its finance minister about reducing oil imports from Iran in support of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda expressed reluctance to make any quick decision on cutting oil imports from Iran.

Speaking to reporters Friday evening in Tokyo, Noda said comments the previous day by his finance minister, Jun Azumi, were a personal opinion, not government policy.

The prime minister said Japan has yet to make a decision about what to do and needs first to consult with the country's business community.

Azumi, standing alongside the visiting U.S. treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, the previous day, said Japan would start reducing Iranian crude oil imports as soon as possible.

But on Friday, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba at a news conference in Tokyo with his French counterpart, Alain Juppe, called for the need “to respond carefully and wisely.” Gemba openly speculated the sanctions could cause oil prices to surge, making Iran more affluent.

The United States and Europe are leading an effort to block Iran's sales of crude oil, its main export, in an attempt to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

Iran is the source of about 10 percent of crude oil acquired from abroad by both Japan and South Korea.

The two countries have few natural resources and are dependent on imports to meet the needs of their large and highly developed economies.

South Korea also says it has yet to make any decision about cutting crude oil imports from the Islamic republic. Officials say the matter will be discussed next week with an American team led by Robert Einhorn, the State Department's point man on the Iranian sanctions.

Under harsher restrictions enacted by Washington, foreign firms continuing to deal with Iran, including its central bank, would face a cutoff of business with the United States.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid