Japan policy on reducing Iran oil in doubt

TOKYO - Japan's policy on Iranian oil was left in doubt on Friday after the prime minister distanced himself from the finance minister's pledge to reduce oil imports in support of a US push to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the pledge, made by Finance Minister Jun Azumi only a day before in a joint press conference with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was Azumi's "personal opinion" and that the government wants to discuss the matter with the business community.
The foreign minister and the government's top spokesman also made comments suggesting Japan was not yet committed to reducing Iranian oil imports, which could potentially damage the credibility of its foreign policy and its dealings with the United States, its most important ally.
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