The governor of Iran's central bank said on Monday that Japan has started importing Iranian oil, which was suspended due to U.S. sanctions.
S&P Global confirmed the loading of oil at Iran's Kharq island and said that Fuji Oil, jointly with Showa Shell have bought the first consignment of Iranian oil since the United States granted a 180 day waiver to a number of friendly countries to buy limited amounts of oil from Iran.
Washington imposed oil sanctions on Iran on November 5, 2018 after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement. It also extended waivers to eight countries.
"After China, South Korea, India and Turkey, Japan also started the process of importing Iranian oil," Abdolnaser Hemmati was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
The Japanese move came a week after it was reported that Japanese banks decided to accept Iranian oil related transactions.
Iran's oil exports have almost halved in the last six months due to U.S. sanctions. The reduction in oil exports has put a big dent in the government's budget and has worsened the country's economic crisis.
Last November, the Japanese government declined to give information on the volumes of Iranian imports that would be allowed under the 180-day exemption period. Some sources said the sanctions waiver may allow Japan to buy around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil. That marks a significant reduction for Japan that took about 165,000 bpd of Iranian oil in January-September, 2018.