Japan’s top government spokesman said Monday that the government is considering releasing oil from its reserves to help curb surging energy prices. Japan has 242 days worth of reserves. That includes the government’s direct holdings, some reserves that oil companies are legally required to set aside and reserves from oil-producing countries, which must be provided to the population on a priority basis in case of supply shocks.
The Japanese government has released its oil reserves five times in the past, including during the 1970s oil crisis and after the 2011 earthquake that hit Japan’s north region, a government official said. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference on Monday that the government hasn’t made a final decision on whether to release the reserves. “We will carefully monitor the impact of higher oil prices and movements in the international energy market on the Japanese economy and continue to ask oil-producing countries to increase production,” he said.