Japan to Mull Releasing Oil Reserves: PM Kishida

Politics Economy

Matsuyama, Ehime Pref., Nov. 20 (Jiji Press)--Japan will consider the possibility of releasing part of its state oil reserves in response to surging crude oil prices, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Saturday.

"We are studying what we can legally do, assuming cooperation between Japan and the United States and cooperation with other countries concerned," Kishida told reporters in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, western Japan.

Concerned about a slowdown of the global economy, the United States has called on major oil-consuming countries, such as Japan and China, to release part of their oil reserves. Against the background, the Japanese government is in talks on releasing its oil reserves through cooperation with other countries, informed sources said.

Japan's oil stockpiling act does not assume the release of its oil reserves as a measure to address surging oil prices. But with Japan having very sufficient oil reserves now, some government officials are considering the idea of lowering the stockpiling target and releasing the surplus amount to the market, the sources said.

The country last released its oil reserves in June 2011, in response to a request from the International Energy Agency following the deterioration in the Libyan situation.

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