China, Japan announce releases of oil reserves

China and Japan on Wednesday announced they would release some oil from their reserves.

The announcements come a day after the U.S. said it would release 50 million barrels of oil from its own strategic reserve. The U.S. also said it was working with China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, who all agreed to take similar steps.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Wednesday declined to say whether China's release of oil was in coordination with the U.S., Reuters reported

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"The Chinese side will organise a release of crude oil from state reserves according to its own actual needs," Zhao Lijian said.

Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s industry minister, said Wednesday a few hundred thousand kilolitres of oil would be released from the country's reserve, with the prime minister confirming earlier the release is at the request of the U.S., according to Reuters

The timing of the sale of the reserves has not been determined, and Japan is releasing the oil in a way that doesn’t break a country law that says reserves can’t be released to try to lower prices, according to Reuters. 

The releases of oil come after the U.S. has reportedly been discussing a coordinated oil release for weeks with other countries to try to lower the cost of energy.