Japan to help America with oil

Japan has begun talks with the International Energy Agency on measures to help ease the petroleum supply situation in the U.S. Gulf Coast area, including a possible release of some of Japan's strategic oil reserves, a trade ministry official said Friday.

"We've received a call from the IEA and started talks with them on measures for the oil supply disruption in the U.S.," a senior official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on condition of anonymity in accordance with ministry practice.

On Wednesday, the IEA began consultations with its members on the release of some of their oil products inventories after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and dealt a blow to U.S. refining and production capacity.

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