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Where does Japan get its oil?


Japan is the world’s third-largest oil consumer, with approximately 4.5 million barrels per day. This high demand for oil has made Japan depend on imports from various countries around the world. This article will explore where Japan gets its oil and how it manages to meet its energy needs.

History of Oil in Japan

Japan started importing oil in the late 19th century from the United States and Russia. However, after World War II, Japan became more reliant on oil imports as it started to rebuild its economy. In the 1970s, a sharp increase in oil prices led to an energy crisis in Japan, and the country had to implement energy-saving measures.

Japanese Snack Box

Major Oil Producers for Japan

Japan sources its oil from various countries, but the top five are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Russia, and Kuwait. These countries account for over 70% of Japan’s total crude oil imports.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is Japan’s biggest source of crude oil, accounting for approximately 40% of all imports. This long-standing relationship between Saudi Arabia and Japan dates back to the 1950s when they signed a bilateral agreement.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is Japan’s second-largest source of crude oil, supplying approximately 20% of all imports. The two countries have a long-standing relationship that dates back to the 1960s.


Qatar supplies approximately 10% of Japan’s crude oil imports. The two countries have been working together since the early 1990s when Japan started importing natural gas from Qatar.


Russia supplies approximately 8% of Japan’s crude oil imports. The relationship between Russia and Japan dates back to the 1900s when they signed their first treaty of friendship.


Kuwait supplies approximately 6% of Japan’s crude oil imports. The two countries have been working together since the 1950s when Japan started importing crude oil from Kuwait.

Other Oil Producers for Japan

Aside from the top five countries, Japan also sources its oil from other countries such as Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela. These countries account for less than 5% of Japan’s total crude oil imports.

Oil Refineries in Japan

Japan has a significant number of refineries that process crude oil into various petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel. The country has over 29 refineries with a total capacity of approximately 4.8 million barrels per day.

Challenges Faced by Japan in Sourcing Oil

One of the major challenges faced by Japan in sourcing oil is its heavy reliance on a few countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Any disruptions in supply from these countries can significantly affect Japan’s economy.

The Future of Oil in Japan

Japan has set a target to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and increase its use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. The country aims to achieve a renewable energy mix of up to 24% by 2030.


In conclusion, Japan heavily relies on oil imports from various countries around the world such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Russia, and Kuwait. While this heavy reliance presents some challenges, Japan continues to work towards reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and increasing its use of renewable energy sources.

Does Japan produce any oil?

Since it first started producing in 1959, the Nakajo oil and gas field has generated over five billion standard cubic meters of natural gas, and it still produces a significant amount of crude oil and gas.

What percent of Japan’s oil comes from Russia?

Japan only relies on Russia for 3.6% of its crude oil, but the country imports around 90% of its oil from the Middle East, with Russia being the largest non-Middle Eastern importer. This information was reported on June 15th, 2022.

How much oil is imported to Japan?

In 2022, Japan brought in roughly 158.64 million kiloliters of crude oil, which was a rise compared to approximately 144.66 million kiloliters from the year before. This information was reported on February 17th, 2023.

Does the U.S. sell oil to Japan?

The United States exported crude oil worth $155.65 million to Japan in 2021, as per the international trade database of the United Nations COMTRADE. The data, historical chart, and statistics on US crude oil exports to Japan were last updated in February 2023.

Why did US not sell oil to Japan?

Responding to Japanese occupation of key airfields in Indochina (July 24) after an agreement between Japan and Vichy France, the U.S. froze Japanese assets on July 26, 1941, and on August 1, it established an embargo on oil and gasoline exports to Japan.

Is Japan self sufficient in oil?

Japan relies heavily on the Middle East for approximately 90% of its crude oil needs, as well as imports of LNG and coal from Asia and Oceania. Any disruptions or instability in these regions could potentially endanger Japan’s energy supply.

Oil Transportation

Transporting oil from different parts of the world to Japan is a significant logistical challenge. The country has to rely on tankers and pipelines to transport the crude oil from the oil-producing countries to its refineries. Japan also maintains strategic oil reserves that can be used in case of supply disruptions or emergencies.

Oil Consumption in Japan

Japan’s high demand for oil is driven by its transportation and manufacturing sectors. The country has a large automotive industry, and many of its vehicles rely on gasoline or diesel fuel. In addition, Japan has a well-developed manufacturing sector that requires significant amounts of energy to operate its factories and industries.

Environmental Concerns

The heavy reliance on fossil fuels such as oil poses significant environmental challenges for Japan. The country is one of the largest carbon emitters in the world, and its use of fossil fuels contributes to climate change. To address this issue, Japan has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable energy sources.


Japan’s dependence on oil imports presents both economic and environmental challenges for the country. While it continues to rely on oil for its energy needs, Japan is working towards reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy sources. This transition will require significant investments in infrastructure and technology, but it is crucial for Japan’s long-term economic and environmental sustainability.

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