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                                        Volume. 12142

Japan’s oil imports from Iran rise 60% in one month
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File photo shows the M Star Japanese supertanker.
File photo shows the M Star Japanese supertanker.
TOKYO  (Reuters)
- New data show that Japan's crude oil imports from Iran increased by more than 60 percent in June as Japanese refiners ramped up their loadings from the Islamic Republic.
 
The recent data released by the Japanese Ministry of Finance showed that the major Asian economy’s crude imports from Iran in June rose by 60.5 percent compared to the month of May, Reuters reported on Monday.
 
Customs-cleared imports from Iran increased to 170,389 barrels per day in June, compared to 106,162 barrels per day in the previous month.
 
Japan needs to buy more oil from suppliers to generate electricity after most of its reactors were shut following the aftereffects of an earthquake and tsunami last year.
 
Japanese industry and government sources announced on July 20 that the world’s third-largest economy loaded its first domestically-guaranteed shipment of Iranian crude oil after the US-engineered European Union (EU) oil embargo against Tehran went into effect at the start of this month.
 
The Japanese government inked deals with two domestic shipping companies to provide insurance cover for the country’s two super tankers, which are to transfer a total of three million barrels of Iranian crude by the end of July.
 
On June 20, in a move to counter the US-engineered EU bans against Iran, Japan’s parliament endorsed a bill to provide USD 7.6 billion in guarantees to ship owners that transfer Iranian crude oil.
 
On January 23, under pressure from the United States, the EU foreign ministers approved new sanctions against Tehran. The sanctions, which prevent some EU member states from purchasing Iran's oil or extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude, came into effect on July 1.
 
Japan, which imported nine percent of its oil from Iran in 2011, refused to cease the purchase of the Islamic Republic’s crude over concerns regarding the likelihood of a surge in the imported oil prices and its subsequent negative effects on Japan's economic development.
 
The U.S. and the EU have imposed financial sanctions as well as an oil embargo against Iran since the beginning of 2012, claiming that the country's nuclear energy program includes a military component.
 
Tehran refutes the allegation, noting that frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency have never found any diversion in Iran's nuclear energy program toward military purposes.

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