Japan ready to insure Iran oil imports

An unnamed Japanese state official said Tuesday that the bill will be ready for parliamentary discussions as early as this week to allow the government to provide insurance cover for tankers bringing in Iranian crude once a European Union (EU) ban on buying and insuring Iranian oil consignments takes effect on July 1, Reuters reported.

The European Union foreign ministers approved new sanctions against Tehran in their meeting on January 23, to ban Iran oil imports across the European Union, which also includes extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude.

Since the EU made the decision, certain East Asian importers of the Iranian oil, notably South Korea and Japan, have been lobbying the EU to be exempt from the Iran oil ban and from the ban on insurance and reinsurance of Iranian oil consignments.

The new bill prepared by Japan’s Transport Ministry will allow the Japanese government to get round the European Union sanctions and is expected to be approved during this week.

Another Japanese official, who asked not to be named, stated that according to the bill, Tokyo will directly make the insurance payments necessary in case of a critical incident happening to Iran’s oil tankers.

Ignoring sanctions imposed on purchasing Iran oil by the United States and EU, many East Asian customers of Iran’s oil, including China, South Korea, and Japan are willing to maintain crude imports from Iran to meet their domestic energy demands.

“Despite preparing the bill, we are continuing to lobby the European Union,” another Japanese government official said.

“Even if the European Union permits the exemption for Japan, and the preparation proves fruitless, we wouldn’t mind, since it is the only measure we can take at home to go round the sanctions,” the official added.


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