Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano says Tokyo is considering "realistic" options to ensure the country's imports of Iranian crude are not disrupted.
"We are responding to this [Iran] issue through working with other ministries as a whole," Edano told reporters at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday.
He added, "By analyzing various risk factors and overall issues, we would like to ensure crude supplies [from Iran] will not be disrupted in a realistic manner."
The remarks come as the Japanese government is considering taking on the liability exposure for tankers that bring Iranian oil to the country and to continue importing crude even after the full enforcement of the European Union’s oil sanctions.
The Japanese business daily the Nikkei
has said that most of this liability coverage has been offered by the Japan Shipowners' Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association (JPIA).
Under Japanese law, shipping companies must obtain liability insurance against damages from accidents, including oil spills and fatalities.
Insurers inside the European Union, a major provider of reinsurance, will likely be prohibited from covering liabilities relating to Iranian crude oil as of July as a part of the EU sanctions on Iran.
On January 23, the EU agreed to ban oil imports as well as petroleum products from Iran and freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran across the EU.
Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini said on May 20 that oil prices will soar to as high as USD160 per barrel if EU sanctions against the Islamic Republic take effect.
The International Monetary Fund warned in March that if Iranian oil supplies are disrupted, crude prices may spike by up to 30 percent, sending shockwaves through the global economy.