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According to the Kyodo news agency on Saturday, Japan is considering releasing oil from its reserves for the first time to combat rising oil prices, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida signaled his readiness to respond to a request from the US.
However, Japan may find it difficult to justify such a step because, according to its own legislation, reserves can only be released in times of supply restrictions or natural disasters, not to cut prices.
President Joe Biden’s administration, which is facing lower approval ratings and increased gasoline prices, has encouraged some of the world’s largest economies to consider releasing oil from strategic reserves to alleviate high energy prices.
The requests include asking China for the first time to consider releasing stocks of crude. “We’re proceeding with consideration as to what we can do legally on the premise that Japan will coordinate with the United States and other countries concerned,” Kishida told reporters.
“We want to draw a conclusion after thoroughly considering the situation each country faces and what Japan can do.”
Japan has previously drawn on its reserves to deal with the aftermath of the Gulf War in the early 1990s and the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, said on Thursday that Tokyo was keeping a careful eye on the impact of rising oil prices on the world’s third-largest economy.
Story by : Norvisi Mawunyegah