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TOKYO (AP) — Japan has decided to divert some of its gas reserves to Europe amid growing concern over possible disruptions of supplies due to the Ukraine crisis, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said Wednesday.
The decision was made at the request of the United States and European Union and is intended to help European countries cope with uncertainties about gas supplies given fears of a possible Russian incursion into Ukraine, he said after meeting with U.S. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, who arrived in Japan in late January.
Russia is the third-largest oil producer after the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and the source of about 40% of the natural gas used in Europe. With gas and oil prices already high, any move to cut the flow of energy could be painful to Europe.