TOKYO — Japan will start to reduce oil imports from Iran, in support of U.S. sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Finance Minister Jun Azumi made the announcement after a one-hour meeting with visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Iran’s “nuclear development problem can’t be ignored by the world, so from that perspective we understand the U.S. actions,” Azumi told a press conference after the meeting with Geithner where they also discussed the eurozone debt crisis and Japan’s reconstruction from the tsunami disaster.
Japan imports about 10 percent of its oil from Iran, Azumi said, and has been steadily reducings its reliance on Iranian oil over the last five years.
“We plan to start reducing this 10 percent share as soon as possible,” he said.
He said working out a plan for non-oil imports would take more time. Japan also imports natural gas from Iran.
Geithner said that the U.S. was in the early stages of consulting with “countries around the world to substantially increase the amount of pressure we bring on Iran.”
“We very much appreciate the support Japan has provided in standing with us and the international community in support of this very important strategic objective,” he said.