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Shoichi Nakagawa, minister of economy, trade and industry, indicated Friday that oil-consuming nations should discuss ways to deal with increases in crude oil prices at a ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency slated for May.

“While the market sees (crude oil) production is almost reaching its limit, it is certain that (global) consumption will grow,” Nakagawa told a news conference.

Nakagawa made the comments when crude oil futures topped $57 per barrel for the first time in New York on Thursday, hitting a new intraday high of $57.60, despite a decision by oil-producing countries to increase output.

He also suggested Japan seek international cooperation with other oil-consuming nations in the field of energy conservation.

“Japan has spearheaded the improvement of energy efficiency, and demand can be adjusted if steps to improve efficiency are introduced by countries around the world,” Nakagawa said.

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