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Japan to seek extension of US waivers for Iran oil imports

Japanese buyers will seek an extension of the waiver from US sanctions on Iranian oil imports after the initial 180-day exemption is over, the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) said on Tuesday.

The United States granted exemptions to Japan and seven other countries on Nov. 5, allowing them to continue buying Iranian oil.

As Japan sees Iran as an important crude supplier, local refiners plan to request the government to secure extension at the earliest, president of Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) Takashi Tsukioka told reporters in Tokyo.

Refiners in Japan and South Korea are reportedly looking to resume Iranian oil imports. Tsukioka said first Japan’s shipments are about to take place around end-December. Oil loadings in January-March are likely to be heavy, he added.

Among the importers of Iranian crude is Japan’s second-biggest refiner Idemitsu Kosan which hopes to buy the remainder of its contractual volumes of Iranian oil during the exemption period, said Tsukioka which also serves as the company’s chairman.

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