Japan resumes Russian oil imports

Crude purchases restarted in July after falling to zero in the previous month

Japan resumed its purchases of Russian oil in July, according to information released on Wednesday by the country’s Finance Ministry.

In the previous month, imports fell to zero as local refiners started to phase out Russian crude amid Ukraine-related sanctions.

While the ministry did not disclose the exact volume, it said July oil imports from Russia were 65.4% lower than the same time last year. The volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia also decreased by 26.1% compared to July 2021, while coal imports dropped by 40.1%.

Despite the decline in physical volumes, the value of Russian fuel exports to Japan increased by 45.1% compared to last year due to rising global commodity prices.

In May, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda vowed that Tokyo would gradually reduce its dependence on Russian energy resources, but said it could not give up Russian oil immediately. Japan also supports the G7 plan to impose a price cap on Russian oil, which is currently under discussion.

READ MORE: Japan won’t quit Russian energy project – minister

Meanwhile, Japan has also significantly increased its crude imports from the Middle East. They rose 10%, while total oil imports from all countries to Japan rose by 3.8%. The Middle East region accounts for over 90% of Japan’s total oil consumption, but due to its proximity Russia is a valuable supplier of energy for the country.

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