Logistics: March 10, 2000


Japan is the world's second-largest importer of oil (after the US), and 85% of that oil comes from the Middle East. (The US gets much of its imported oil from Mexico and Venezuela.) For decades, Japan has leased oilfields from Saudi Arabia (in the neutral zone with Kuwait) that provided 1% of its total oil consumption, but the lease has expired and the Japanese were unable to secure a renewal on acceptable terms. This reduces (slightly) the amount of foreign oil Japan controls, requiring it to buy more oil on the open market. --Stephen V Cole


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