Japan Taps Oil Reserves to Cover Three Days' Use

Japan will release 1.26 million kilolitres of crude oil from privately-held reserves, enough to meet demand for three days, Japanese Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said on Monday.

Japan had national reserves of 113 days of oil demand under the government's storage and 85 days held by the private sector at the end of December.

"We require the private sector to hold 70 days as oil reserves, but we'll make the period (shorter) by three days to 67 days. That means we're releasing 1.26 million kilolitres," Kaieda said in televised comments.

Japan's energy sector is struggling to meet demand after Friday's giant earthquake and the ensuing tsunami crippled several nuclear power plants and cut power to almost 2 million people in the north of the country. (Reporting by Risa Maeda, editing by Anthony Barker)