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A panel of experts on Tuesday launched a series of meetings to discuss increasing the nation’s oil reserves starting in fiscal 2006 to deal with growing fears of a tightening supply.

The panel, which will report its findings to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s energy advisory committee, discussed how the reserves should be used and how Japan should cooperate with other Asian nations to raise its total.

Japan currently maintains 170 days worth of oil among the public and private sectors for emergency situations.

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