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Japan is initially considering releasing its oil reserves after an American request – sources

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A branch of Cosmo Energy Holdings’ Cosmo Oil service station in Tokyo, Japan, December 17, 2015. Photo taken December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Three government sources familiar with the potential plan told Reuters that Japan is considering the unprecedented release of state oil reserves, after a request from Washington for coordinated action to combat soaring energy prices.

One of the sources said that the government is considering releasing the part that exceeds the minimum amount required as a legal solution. Japanese law allows for the release of oil reserves in cases of shortages or natural disasters, but does not mention this to counteract price hikes.

“We have no choice but to come up with something,” another source told Reuters, after a request from the United States.

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The sources declined to reveal their identity because the plan was not made public.

Japan never released oil from its government reserves, while oil companies did during the 1991 Gulf War and after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday that nothing had been decided on, while Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday the government was looking into what it could do legally. Read more

The Biden administration has made an unusual request to some of the world’s largest oil consuming countries – including China and India – to consider releasing oil from their strategic reserves after members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies have repeatedly rejected their requests to speed up. increases their production.

The Japanese government kept the equivalent of 145 days of daily oil consumption at the end of September, according to official data, well above the 90-day minimum required by law.

The total reserves of the private sector are 90 days, and also exceed the minimum requirement of 70 days.

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Additional reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto and Ritsuko Shimizu; Additional writing and reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Chang Ran Kim and Jacqueline Wong

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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