Japan, which counts Russia as its fifth-biggest supplier of crude oil, is in discussion with the United States and European countries about possibly banning Russian oil imports, Kyodo News reported on Monday.
The report comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the United States and European allies were exploring the possibility.
Asked about a potential embargo on Russian oil imports, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno declined to comment on the country’s communication with the United States.
Russia accounted for 3.63% of Japan’s imports of crude oil last year.
While sanctions imposed on Russia are not expected to directly affect Japan’s ability to ensure a stable supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG), they could indirectly affect energy-related projects, Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said.
“We will closely monitor (developments),” he said in parliament, adding that Japan would act appropriately in step with the Group of Seven.
The Japanese government and companies own stakes in oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Russia, including two on Sakhalin Island, but partners Exxon Mobil Corp and Shell have announced they will exit.
• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard
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