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“We’re more concerned about the risk of the Iran problem becoming bigger and possibly leading to global economic instability through a possible increase in oil prices,” said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief economist for Japan at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

The timing is also bad for Japan as it already faces an energy crunch. Most of its 54 nuclear power plants are offline because of routine inspections, mechanical problems or stress tests after last March’s radiation crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Azumi said working out a plan for non-oil imports would take more time. Japan also imports natural gas from Iran.

The U.S. intends to send a team to Tokyo to consult with Japanese officials on how they will carry out the plans, Geithner told public broadcaster NHK later.

China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, depends on Iran for 11 percent of its oil imports. China bought about 600,000 barrels of Iranian crude per day in November, nearly one-third of Iran’s daily exports of 2.2 million barrels, making Chinese cooperation key to the success of sanctions.

Asked about China in his interview with NHK, Geithner said Beijing has been “quite supportive in tangible ways. I heard additional evidence of their intentions on that when I was there.”

A U.S. Treasury official also traveling in Asia said Thursday he discussed the sanctions with Philippine and Thai officials, but no commitments were made.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin told reporters in Manila that among the two countries’ officials, there appears to be “a broad desire to be helpful here and cooperative.”

In Tokyo, Azumi and Geithner also discussed the eurozone debt crisis and Japan‘s reconstruction from the tsunami disaster in March.

“The leaders of Europe appear to be making some progress in containing their crisis,” Geithner said, adding that the U.S. was “fully prepared to support a more substantial role” by the International Monetary Fund in supporting the European response.

The two leaders also took a swipe at China’s currency policies, with Azumi saying he wanted to see Beijing adopt a more “flexible” exchange rate policy.

In a veiled reference to China, Geithner said the U.S. wants to see a stronger commitment by emerging economies in the Group of 20 to flexible exchange rates. The U.S. contends Beijing keeps its yuan undervalued, giving its exporters an unfair price advantage.

“We want to see those emerging market currencies that are undervalued continue to appreciate against the major currencies, against the dollar, the yen and the euro,” Geithner said.

Associated Press writers Joe McDonald and Louise Watt in Beijing, Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara and Teresa Cerojano in Manila contributed to this report.