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Japan set to prepare for resuming Iran oil imports - trade minister

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Minister of Economy,Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko arrives at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese buyers of Iranian crude are expected to prepare for resuming oil imports from the Islamic Republic after the country was granted a waiver from U.S. sanctions, trade minister Hiroshige Seko said on Tuesday.

The United States took into account stable energy supply and the impact on Japan firms in granting a waiver, Seko told reporters, adding that Japan will continue to exchange views closely with the United States.

“It would be up to the judgment of private firms, but based on this decision, the (Japanese) companies would likely prepare for resuming Iran crude imports,” he said.

Asked whether any cuts in imports would become necessary, he said: “I cannot comment on import volumes.”

Seko also declined to comment on whether Japanese imports would fall to zero after the 180-day exception period expires, saying that would depend on future negotiations between the two nations.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; editing by Richard Pullin