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Japan has approached OPEC producers and their partners in OPEC+ with a request for more output, Kyodo News reported this week, citing industry minister Koichi Hagiuda.
The minister said the calls will continue until the next OPEC+ meeting, scheduled for November 4. Meanwhile, Japan’s foreign minister had talked with his Kuwaiti counterpart specifically for a potential increase in supplies.
"We are closely watching movements in the crude oil market as well as the impact on domestic industry and households," Japan’s Prime Minister told media earlier, after he asked his Cabinet to watch out for fallout from energy price hikes on the Japanese economy.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also called on the International Energy Agency to make OPEC boost oil production.
Japan is almost entirely dependent on imported oil for its needs, and the latest price rally has delivered a blow to its still-fragile economic recovery, earlier this month pushing the national currency to a three-year low, according to a Reuters report.
Japan gets most of its oil from OPEC, with Saudi Arabia its biggest supplier, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Qatar and Russia are smaller exporters to Japan.
Calls on OPEC to boost oil production have been multiplying since prices started climbing. Besides the United States, which has appealed twice to OPEC+ to produce more oil, the International Energy Agency has also called on the cartel to provide more oil.
So far, however, OPEC+ has remained reluctant to heed the requests, keeping supply tight on fears the current strong demand may not last. However, it seems that lately, OPEC+ has not just stuck to its production targets but has been undershooting them.
In September, according to a recent Bloomberg report, OPEC+ cut output by 15 percent more than it had planned, after producing 16 percent less than agreed in August and 9 percent less than agreed in July.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.