India oil imports from Iran fall 27%

Updated 25 April 2013

India oil imports from Iran fall 27%

NEW DELHI: India’s import of crude oil from Iran slid by 27 percent in the last financial year as US and European sanctions made it harder to ship fuel from the Islamic republic, a report said.
India imported 13.3 million tons of crude oil from Iran in the financial year ended March 31, down from 18.1 million tons shipped in the previous year, the Press Trust of India reported, quoting official sources.
The decline in Indian imports was sharper than for Iran’s other two big buyers, China and South Korea, as New Delhi struggled with payment and insurance problems.
The US and EU have shut down use of their financial systems for payment for Iranian crude, in the hope of starving Tehran of cash and forcing it to give up its alleged nuclear weapons program.
Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
India cannot deposit dollars or euros in any foreign bank for importing crude from Iran because of the sanctions, while insurance companies are refusing to cover refineries that use oil from the nation.
Iran was India’s second-biggest crude oil supplier after Saudi Arabia in 2010-11 but is now its sixth-largest, behind Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Kuwait and the UAE, the news agency said.
India, which relies on imports for 79 percent of its oil needs, bought a total of 182.5 million tons of crude in 2012-13, up from 171.7 million tons in the previous year.
India, the world’s fourth-largest oil importer, has been walking a diplomatic tightrope as it pursues good ties with Tehran, while deepening relations with the US.
Under the sanctions, Iranian crude customers such as India have been restricted to using their own currencies for purchases.
Importers are being compelled to keep the payments in escrow accounts that Iran can use only for locally sourced goods and services, in what amount to barter arrangements.


Japan’s Uniqlo pulls ad after South Korean fury

Updated 21 October 2019

Japan’s Uniqlo pulls ad after South Korean fury

  • South Korean and Japanese relationship is deeply strained by the legacy of Tokyo’s 20th-century expansionism
  • Seoul and Tokyo are currently locked in a bitter trade and diplomatic row stemming from historical disputes
SEOUL: Japanese retail giant Uniqlo has pulled a commercial featuring a 98-year-old US fashion figure from South Korean screens, it said Monday after it was accused of whitewashing colonial history.
South Korea and Japan are both US allies, democracies and market economies faced with an overbearing China and nuclear-armed North Korea, but their relationship is deeply strained by the legacy of Tokyo’s 20th-century expansionism.
The latest example is an advert for Uniqlo fleeces showing elderly fashion celebrity Iris Apfel chatting with designer Kheris Rogers, 85 years her junior.
The last line has the white-haired Apfel, asked how she used to dress as a teenager, innocuously responding: “Oh my God. I can’t remember that far back.”
But Uniqlo’s Korean arm subtitled its version of the ad slightly differently, reading: “I can’t remember things that happened more than 80 years ago.”
That would put the moment as 1939, toward the end of Japan’s brutal colonial rule over the Korean peninsula, where the period is still bitterly resented, and some South Koreans reacted furiously.
“A nation that forgets history has no future. We can’t forget what happened 80 years ago that Uniqlo made fun of,” commented one Internet user on Naver, the country’s largest portal.
The phrase “Uniqlo, comfort women,” in reference to women forced to become sex slaves to Japanese troops during the Second World War, was among the most searched terms on Naver at the weekend, and demonstrators protested outside Uniqlo shops on Monday.
Seoul and Tokyo are currently locked in a bitter trade and diplomatic row stemming from historical disputes, and South Korean consumers have mounted boycotts of Japanese products.
Uniqlo — which has 186 stores in South Korea — has itself been one of the highest-profile targets, while Japanese carmakers’ sales dropped nearly 60 percent year-on-year in September.
The company denied the allegations in a statement, saying the text was altered to highlight the age gap between the individuals and show that its fleeces were for people “across generations.”
“The ad had no intention whatsoever to imply anything” about colonial rule, a Uniqlo representative said on Monday, adding the firm had withdrawn the ad in an effort at damage control.
Analysts said the controversy demonstrated the politicization of the neighbors’ complex history.
The reaction was excessive, said Kim Sung-han, a former foreign affairs vice minister who teaches at Korea University, involving a “jump in logic” that “assumes everything Uniqlo does is political as a Japanese company.”
“I don’t see how her remark could be linked to the comfort women issue,” he added. “This is overly sensitive.”