The American ambassador in Tokyo called this decision an example of close cooperation between the United States and Japan to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Japan has decided to redirect part of its gas reserves to Europe amid growing concern about possible supply disruptions due to the Ukrainian crisis, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda said.

The decision was made at the request of the United States and the EU and is designed to help European countries cope with uncertainty about gas supplies amid concerns about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, he said after meeting with the new U.S. Ambassador, Rahm Emanuel, who arrived in Japan at the end of January.

Emanuel welcomed Japan’s offer.

“Japan’s aid to Europe is an example of how [U.S. President Joe] Biden and [Japanese Prime Minister Fumio] Kishida is working closely with like-minded partners to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine and defend our common values,” Emanuel said.

Russia is the third largest oil producer after the United States and Saudi Arabia and the source of about 40 percent of the natural gas consumed in Europe.

Given the already high oil and gas prices, any reduction in energy supplies could be painful for Europe.