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Azumi Says Iran Sanctions Could Be ‘Big Blow’ to Japan Banks

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- American sanctions on Iran could hurt Japanese banks that do business in the U.S., Finance Minister Jun Azumi said.

“It’s possible that Japan’s financial institutions will have a big blow” and exemptions should be made, Azumi said at a press conference in Tokyo today. President Barack Obama’s measures would deny access to the U.S. financial system for any overseas bank that conducts business with the Central Bank of Iran.

Asked whether his promise yesterday to reduce Japan’s oil imports from Iran was a reflection of his opinion rather than government policy, Azumi said there is no difference in opinion among Cabinet members and that all countries need to show a united response to denounce Iran’s nuclear program.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said yesterday the government hasn’t made a final decision on cutting Iranian oil imports, and that Azumi’s pledge “is just one of several opinions.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Toru Fujioka in Tokyo at tfujioka1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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