Japan recorded its highest monthly volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Russia in seven years in December, as per data from the Japanese Finance Ministry.
Despite being one of the world’s major LNG importers, with Australia, Malaysia, and Qatar contributing the majority, Russia accounted for 9% of Japan’s LNG supply.
Preliminary data indicates that Japan received 833,000 metric tons of LNG from Russia last month, marking a 42.5% increase from December 2022. RBC highlighted that these shipments were the most substantial since February 2017 when Japan imported 844,000 metric tons of LNG from Russia.
However, for the entire calendar year of 2023, Japan’s LNG imports from Russia decreased by 10.7% to 6.13 million metric tons. Concurrently, Japan’s LNG imports from the United States saw a 34% year-on-year increase to 5.5 million tons, as reported by Japanese Finance Ministry data.
Overall, Japan experienced an 8% decline in LNG imports from all suppliers in 2023, totaling 66.2 million metric tons.
This reduction was attributed to the restart of nuclear power plants and the heightened use of solar and wind generation. Consequently, China surpassed Japan as the world’s largest LNG importer in 2023.
Despite Japan’s imposition of sanctions on Russia, in line with its ally the United States and other Western nations, due to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Japanese companies have left or suspended operations in Russia.
Nevertheless, Japan has expressed its commitment to ensuring stable energy supplies, even in the face of increasing U.S. sanctions on Russian-led LNG projects.