• Kyodo

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Senior officials of Japan and the United States will discuss this week new Washington-led sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear threat, Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said Tuesday.

Genba told reporters that the officials will hold the meeting Thursday mainly to exchange views on a new U.S. law that allows a ban on foreign financial institutions from operating in the United States if they are found to have done business with Iran’s central bank.

The meeting in the United States is part of the process for Japan to decide how to reduce its Iranian oil imports.

The first meeting of senior Japanese and U.S. officials on Iran’s sanctions was held in mid-January in Tokyo.

During that meeting, the U.S. delegation led by Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, and Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing, requested that Japan join the Washington-led sanctions by cutting its crude oil imports from Iran.

“I believe it may not be easy to come to a conclusion on this matter in the upcoming discussions,” Genba said, noting that the United States has yet to define some of the specifics regarding how to apply the law.

By law the White House could grant a country an exemption from the ban if it has “significantly reduced its volume of crude oil purchases from Iran.”

Japan has been calling for an exemption from the ban, arguing that its oil imports from Iran have already been cut by 40 percent over the past five years and the trend is almost certain to continue.

Advance G-20 meeting

KYODO

Mexico said Tuesday it will convene an informal meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 20 leading advanced and emerging countries in mid-February.

The Mexican Embassy in Tokyo said the three-day meeting will be held in Los Cabos starting Feb. 18. Mexico holds the rotating presidency of the G-20 this year.

It will be the first foreign ministerial meeting of the G-20.

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