Japanese companies have stepped up oil imports from Iran since the lifting of sanctions.
More Japanese companies, which halted oil purchases from Iran under Western sanctions, are seeking to resume imports, a new report says. 
Marubeni, Sumitomo, Itochu and Kanematsu are some of the Japanese firms which are looking to take Iranian crude, giving a fresh boost to Iran’s successful campaign to return to the market, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Marubeni and Sumitomo bought around 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil before sanctions were imposed on the country. Marubeni bought Iranian crude, condensate, naphtha and fuel oil, while Sumitomo imported liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Iran until 2012.
Marubeni confirmed that it was working to restart purchases, Reuters quoted a company source as saying. Sumitomo was also seeking to buy Iranian oil and LPG, the news agency added.
Itochu was considering resuming imports from Iran and Kanemastu was looking at any early date to lift oil from Iran, it added.
Mitsui & Co became the latest Japanese company earlier this month to resume taking Iranian oil for the first time since 2012, according to Reuters.
Japanese trading houses such as Mitsubishi and Toyota Tsusho continued to import Iranian oil even under sanctions.
Refiners are returning to Iran in rising numbers as shipping insurance firms are resuming full coverage for Iranian cargoes. Other Asian buyers have stepped up purchases from Iran since the sanctions were lifted in January.
According to Reuters, Iranian crude exports to Asia, excluding Japan, jumped to 1.6 million barrels per day in August, up 92 percent on a year ago.  
Iran’s exports to Japan increased by almost a quarter from January to August, averaging about 216,000 barrels per day, figures released last week by Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.