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The trade ministry is studying the effect of a possible ban on Sudanese oil imports, anticipating increased public pressure to halt trade with the African nation because of concern about human rights abuses, officials said.

The world’s second-largest oil importer would become the first nation to take such a step. The trade ministry had hearings with refiners and utilities, including Nippon Oil Corp., Japan Energy Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co., to probe the consequences of a halt, ministry and company officials said.

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