Japan reforms Petroleum Laws

Oct 20, 1997 02:00 AM

August 31, 1997 The Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry plans to abolish the current licensing system for refineries and alleviate private sector product reserve obligations. It expects to revise the Petroleum Industry Law by 2000, based on discussions set to start in fall by the Petroleum Council, a MITI panel.
The council is likely to discuss abolishing the refinery license, since there have been few new entrants into the petroleum sector in the past several years. The necessity of the petroleum product supply plan, which MITI had drawn up, is also likely to be discussed, as is the policy directing oil companies to refine products in Japan for domestic sales.
Although it already abolished in April 1996 the Provisional Measures Law on the Importation of Specific Petroleum Refined Products, which virtually prohibited the import of gasoline and other petroleum products, the ministry retains some regulatory policies. It regards deregulation in the petroleum industry as a part of structural reforms initiated by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

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