Japan will continue loading crude cargoes from Iran after it extended a state-backed insurance to cover imports of oil.
The rollover of the insurance was approved by parliament on Wednesday and takes effect from April for one year, a government official told Reuters.
While the rollover provides insurance cover for imports that Japanese shippers cannot otherwise obtain, refiners are unlikely to load Iranian cargoes from April unless they get a waiver from the United States on sanctions re-imposed on Iran last year.
Japanese refiners have been pushing the government to seek an extension of the US sanctions waivers after an initial 180-day exemption period expires in early May.
Meanwhile, the South Korean government also said in a news release on Monday that it will have its officials to meet with US State Department officials on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss extension of a waiver issued in November.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), and announced plans for new sanctions against Tehran.
The White House has also announced plans to get as many countries as possible down to zero Iranian oil imports and launch a campaign of “maximum economic and diplomatic pressure” on Iran.
Washington issued sanctions waivers for eight countries in November, including for South Korea and Japan.