TOKYO - Japan's finance minister said on Friday that there is no confusion over the government's policy of reducing Iranian oil imports in support of US sanctions, rejecting suggestions from the cabinet's top spokesman that Japan isn't committed to take such steps.
Finance Minister Jun Azumi said on Thursday in a joint press conference with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that Japan would take concrete steps to reduce oil imports from Iran as the U.S. tries to choke off oil revenue to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.
A few hours after Azumi's announcement, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters that importing less Iranian oil was only one of many opinions on how to deal with the matter.
Buying less Iranian oil is sensitive for Japan because its reliance on energy imports has increased after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year. But such a move is necessary because it would exempt Japanese banks from sanctions that would freeze financial institutions out of US markets for facilitating trade in Iranian crude.