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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 August 19 - 25  > Oil industry think tank: Possibility of Hormuz Strait crisis is ‘close to zero’
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2015 August 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Oil industry think tank: Possibility of Hormuz Strait crisis is ‘close to zero’

August 21, 2015
In discussions on the war bills, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is repeatedly citing a possible crisis in the Hormuz Strait in order to justify the need to allow the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to use arms abroad. The possibility of such a crisis, however, is “very close to zero”, according to an oil industry think tank.

Based on a scenario that the Hormuz Strait is blockaded with sea mines and that the oil supply to Japan is choked off, the prime minister is arguing that Japan needs to exercise the collective self-defense right and dispatch SDF vessels to the strait for minesweeping operations. The oil industry, however, has thrown doubt on Abe’s scenario.

The think tank, JX Nippon Research Institute, is a subsidiary of Japan’s major oil wholesaler, JX Holdings. A report issued by the institute in July states that around 80% of Japan’s oil imports come through the Hormuz Strait and that if Iran seals off the strait in retaliation to western economic sanctions against the nation’s nuclear program, Japan’s energy security will face a serious threat. Then, the report examines the possibility of such an event.

The report states, “At this point in time, the possibility that Iran will resort to the closing of the Hormuz Strait that will harm the country itself is very close to zero.”

As reasons for this conclusion, the report explained that the U.S. military in the Persian Gulf is far stronger than the Iranian military and that the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait will back the U.S. if Iran attempts to shut down the strait. It also states that Iran exports oil through the strait and depends on the income from the oil sales and that Iran on July 14 reached a final agreement with western powers on a nuclear deal which will pave the way for the ending of the economic sanctions.

The report adds that three routes of oil pipelines running through Persian Gulf countries can replace 40% of crude oil traffic in the Hormuz Strait. Along with the 197-day oil stock secured on reserve in Japan, the country will be able to supply itself with oil even if the strait is blockaded, the report concludes.

Past related article:
> Iranian ambassador to Japan denies possibility of crisis in Hormuz Strait [July 25, 2015]
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