"Conservative Japanese firms have so far held off taking Iranian crude due to a lack of internationally acceptable insurance coverage, but are looking at ways of using cover provided by the Japanese government, the sources said. The traders seeking to restart purchases together imported around 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil before sanctions were imposed and renewed purchases would give a boost to Tehran's aim of increasing its exports to 4 million bpd... ... Itochu Corp said it was considering resuming imports of Iranian oil, while trading house Kanematsu Corp which last bought Iran crude in 2010, is also looking to resume purchases at an early date, but has not yet lined up any customers, a company source told Reuters." (Reuters, "Some Japan trading houses eye resuming Iran oil imports-sources," 10/19/2016).
"With approximately 150 overseas bases in 74 countries, ITOCHU, one of the leading sogo shosha, is engaging in domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, information and communications technology, aerospace, electronics, energy, metals, minerals, chemicals, forest products, general merchandise, food, finance, realty, insurance, and logistics services, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas" (Company Website).
According to Reuters, "On March 1, 2010, the Company acquired ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co., Ltd” (Reuters Company Profile).
"ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co., Ltd., also known as CIECO, is an upstream E & P company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. CIECO is known for its technological expertise in all aspects of oil and natural gas exploration, development, and production. As an operating subsidiary company for the ITOCHU Corporation (ITC), CIECO, with its know-how in reservoir management and exploitation, risk management and finance structuring related to the hydrocarbon industry, plays a central role in every aspect of the upstream hydrocarbon businesses of the ITOCHU Group. CIECO's E & P business spans nearly 10 countries globally, allowing for the maximization of ITC's worldwide network" (Itochu Oil Website).
Itochu has a branch in Tehran, ITOCHU IRAN Ltd. (Company Website)
Itochu Iran lists describes itself as “a subsidary of a Japanese Trading company. Our main function is marketing and sales of various products in our local market and wordwide. We provide all required information for buyers and suppliers in order to finalize a business” (Itochu Iran Profile).
As of April 2010, Itochu imports five thousand barrels of crude oil per day from Iran. (Reuters, "Iran’s Crude Oil Buyers in Europe, Asia," April 18 2010)
In a 2005 news release, Itochu announced a major project with Iran to develop Iranian natural gas: "ITOCHU Corporation is at the last adjustment stage with the parties concerned of the high-density polyethylene Project with plant capacity 300,000t/a in Islamic Republic of Iran. The total investment amounts up to 25 billion yen."
"This Project is an epoch-making one in which Thai, Iranian, and Japanese companies jointly establish a joint venture company in Iran. ITOCHU contributes about 12% equity for the joint venture company through another investment company established with Thai partners. This is a long time since the last formal investment has been made in Iran by a Japanese company. Moreover, ITOCHU will also undertake a role as a Project developer with the role including, but not limited to, coordinating contractual negotiation, and arranging finance for the Project, with the close cooperation with the remaining parties."
"It is the greatest merit of this Project to realize stable supply of the inexpensive ethylene utilizing abundant Iranian natural gas for a long period of time" (Itochu News Release, “Iran/Assaluyeh high-density polyethylene (HDPE) Project,” July 2, 2005).