Iraq is aiming to become a major oil and gas supplier to Japan, Baghdad's oil minister, Hussein al-Shahristani, said on Wednesday after a meeting with Japanese officials.
The Minister also said that Japan offered economic aid in the form of loans and investments to help build Iraq's infrastructure.
The statement was released following a meeting in Baghdad with Mitsuo Sakaba, a Japanese envoy to Iraq for reconstruction issues.
“Japan is interested in Iraqi energy sources to carry out its investment and industrial projects,” al-Shahrestani is quoted as saying. “Iraq will secure Japan’s requirements for oil and liquefied gas”, he added, noting that Japan will help Iraq in developing some oilfields to support the oil industry in the country.
Japan is a leading purchaser of oil from Iran, but a report in the Financial Times last month implied that Western countries' economic sanctions were raising concern that it will be more difficult to buy Iranian supplies.
Many banks have cut down on issuing letters of credit with Iranian financial institutions, as Tehran faces pressures over its nuclear programme.
(Sources: Aswat al-Iraq, Deutsche Presse-Agentur)