In response to requests from the US and the EU, Japan has decided to redirect some LNG cargoes to Europe, with the extra shipments expected to arrive in March, according to the country's industry minister, Koichi Hagiuda.
The decision comes as Europe faces a shortage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) due to ongoing tensions in Eastern Europe.
Russia and the West have been at odds over Ukraine, raising fears that Europe's energy supplies could be disrupted.
"We have agreed to respond to requests from the US and the EU for exporting LNG to Europe, where gas supply is limited," Hagiuda said after meeting separately with the US and EU ambassadors to Japan earlier in the day.
He said that the diversions will be made after ensuring that Japan's local demand is met and that electricity generation remains stable.
Some already-scheduled LNG cargoes sent by Japanese companies will arrive in Europe in February, with further cargoes, including those diverted to Europe at the request of the Japanese government, expected to arrive in March, according to an industry ministry official.
The official did not reveal the exact number of cargoes bound for Europe, but stated that the number of cargoes delivered in March will be larger than in February.
In addition, the government has asked Japanese companies with LNG supplies that are not covered by a long-term contract with a destination clause to divert as many cargoes as possible to Europe.
A destination clause mandates where a cargo can be delivered and limits buyers from reselling excess gas.