TOKYO: Japan has asked the United Arab Emirates to increase its crude oil production in response to increased prices, industry minister Koichi Hagiuda said Tuesday.
“We will assess the impact on domestic industries by monitoring crude oil price trends and the domestic (price) situation for petroleum products,” Hagiuda told a press conference.
If the impact from surging crude oil prices spreads to small and midsize businesses, the ministry would create a consultation service and consider financing support, he said.
Hagiuda said he held a videoconference with the UAE minister in charge on Monday and that he is arranging to make a similar request to Saudi Arabia.
Also at the press conference, Hagiuda said he believes that it would not be appropriate to lift the suspension of a clause calling for a cut in gasoline taxes when gasoline prices continue to soar for a certain period.
Doing so would cause various problems, including confusing distribution systems and hurting central and local government finances, he said.
The clause, introduced by the administration of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan, has been suspended in order to secure funds for reconstruction programs in areas damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
In August, the UAE and Saudi Arabia supplied 76.7% of the total Japanese crude oil imports, a record for the two Arab countries feeding over three-quarters of Japan oil needs, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry showed.
Japan also struck its first fuel ammonia cooperation deal with the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in January.
The two countries also agreed to further advance bilateral cooperation in areas including hydrogen and fuel ammonia.
*With JIJI Press