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Geithner Gets Japan Backing on Oil Sanctions After Snub From China

Toru Fujioka and Aki Ito Bloomberg.com 01/13/2012 18:45
Geithner Gets Japan Backing on Oil Sanctions After Snub From China - Business - energy - Japan

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner’s efforts to tighten economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program won backing from Japan after China rejected limiting oil imports from the country.

“We want to take concrete steps to reduce our share in an orderly way as soon as possible,” Finance Minister Jun Azumi said at a joint press conference in Tokyo yesterday with his U.S. counterpart. “The world cannot tolerate nuclear development.”

Geithner’s meetings were part of a trip to Asia’s two largest economies aimed at building support for tighter Iranian economic sanctions after international monitors detected an acceleration in the nation’s nuclear development program. China, which counts Iran as one of its top petroleum suppliers, snubbed the U.S. this week, with a vice foreign minister saying his nation “opposes imposing pressure and sanctions.”

(...) JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp., Japan’s biggest refiner, is in talks with Saudi Arabia and other producers to replace crude shipments in the event of an embargo, according to an official who declined to be identified, citing company policy. JX buys about 90,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, the official said.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the government hasn’t made a final decision on cutting Iranian imports, and that Azumi’s pledge “is just one of several opinions.” Azumi later said he is seeking ways to make sure sanctions on Iran don’t hurt the Japanese economy.