Japan plans to phase out its coal imports from Russia while seeking other suppliers amid growing sanctions on Moscow, the Japanese economy and industry minister said on Friday.
Japan is the world's third-largest coal importer. Data from Japan’s government shows that Russian coal makes up 11% of the total used for power generation in the country.
Speaking to reporters recently, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda said although finding immediate alternative suppliers would be difficult, his country aims over time to end coal imports from Russia.
'We would need to find alternative suppliers or we would face difficulties securing domestic coal which could lead to power outages and such. We need to avoid such a situation,' Hagiuda said.
He vowed to cooperate with Russian sanctions without inflicting a burden on Japan’s industrial sector.
As a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Japan is also the second-largest contributor to the agency’s initiative to release 120 million barrels of oil from emergency stockpiles.
The country will release at least 15 million barrels from its state reserves.
Tokyo has joined its Western allies in sanctioning Moscow but had ruled out halting energy imports from Russia.
Japan depends on imports for virtually all of its energy resources, despite being the fifth-largest energy consumer worldwide.
Japanese private companies, including refiners, hold about 175 million barrels of crude and oil products in their Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), a quantity sufficient to cover consumption for around 90 days, according to state agency Jogmec.
Russia is the third-largest oil producer globally and the largest exporter worldwide, playing a pivotal role in global energy markets.
It exports approximately 5 million barrels a day of crude oil, representing roughly 12% of global trade. The supply of an average of 2.85 million barrels a day of petroleum products represents around 15% of the refined product trade globally.
Around 60% of Russian oil exports go to Europe, and 20% to China.
By Sibel Morrow