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Japan to cut down on Iranian oil imports

Japan has announced plans to cut back on the amount of oil it imports from Iran, following a visit from US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Jun azumi timothy geithner japan us iran oil 01 12 2012Enlarge
Japanese finance minister Jun Azumi and US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner at their joint press conference in Tokyo, Jan. 12, 2012. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan will cut down on the amount of oil it imports from Iran, the country's finance minister said today.

The move is seen as a victory in the US campaign to gather support for sanctions on the Iranian oil industry in a bid to cut off funding for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post.

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The decision was announced at a joint press conference in Tokyo between Japan's Finance Minister Jun Azumi and US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is on a tour of Asia this week.

Bloomberg cited Azumi as saying:

"We want to take concrete steps to reduce our share in an orderly way as soon as possible. The world cannot tolerate nuclear development."

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has expressed concern that targeting Iranian oil could have serious consequences for Japanese and other economies, according to the Post.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura later said the government had not made a final decision on cutting Iranian imports, which was "just one of several opinions."

Nonetheless, Geithner said he appreciated "the support Japan has provided standing with us," the BBC reported. He told Japanese TV that US officials would travel to Japan next week to discuss how plans would be implemented.

Japan is Iran's second-largest oil customer behind China, which rejected Geithner's appeals when he visited earlier this week. Trade relations between China and Iran has "nothing to do with the nuclear issue," according to the vice foreign minister responsible for US relations, Cui Tiankai.

More from GlobalPost: Oil prices rise again on Iran worries

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/120112/japan-cut-iran-oil-imports