All papers reported that the Trump administration is allegedly asking Japan and other partners to halt oil transactions with Iran by Nov. 4 when it plans to reinstate economic sanctions. A USG delegation headed by Assistant Secretary of State Ford visited Japan last week and reportedly asked GOJ ministries and commercial enterprises to stop importing Iranian petroleum. The Japanese side was reportedly noncommittal toward the alleged U.S. request. According to the articles, Washington has decided that third countries such as European nations and Japan will not be exempted from the planned disciplinary measures that penalize the companies of third parties that do business with Tehran.
The GOJ is reportedly set to ask the USG to allow Japan to continue importing Iranian oil, which accounts for 5% of the nation’s overall petroleum imports, based on the judgment that a suspension would damage diplomatic relations with the Iranian government. However, Nikkei speculated that Japanese oil and trading companies may choose to heed the U.S. request and avoid procuring Iranian products out of fear of losing business opportunities in America. Sankei projected that a discontinuation or reduction of Iranian petroleum imports would not have a substantial impact on the stable procurement of oil products since Japanese firms would try to reach out to other suppliers. According to Mainichi, Trade Minister Seko commented on the purported U.S. demand by telling the press yesterday: “Japan would like to hold discussions with the countries involved, including the United States, so that the stable supply of energy will not be adversely affected.”