The U.S. Treasury Department issued a license on September 14 to grant this extension. Japanese officials have clarified that the country requires the importation of a small amount of Sakhalin-2 oil, which is extracted alongside significantly larger quantities of natural gas. Currently, Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounts for nearly 10% of Japan's total LNG imports through long-term contracts.
In the first two months of this year, Japan imported approximately 6.9 billion yen (equivalent to about $46 million at current rates) worth of Russian oil at a price nearing $70 per barrel. However, Japanese government trade statistics indicate that no imports have been made since then.
Under the sanctions policy led by the United States, companies in the Group of Seven advanced democracies are allowed to transport and insure Russian crude only if the price remains below $60 a barrel. The rationale behind this policy is to limit Russia's revenue while ensuring a continued supply of Russian oil to global markets. Despite Japan's exception, U.S. officials stress that it only affects an insignificant amount of oil and does not compromise the policy's effectiveness.