A Saudi Oil Ministry official says whether Japan or other countries buy Iranian oil is an "internal matter."
The unidentified senior official's comments, reported by the Saudi daily Al-Watan on Monday, come after Japan's foreign minister met with Saudi officials a day earlier for talks that local media said included the latest U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and Japan's energy needs.
Japan is particularly dependent on imported oil and natural gas after last year's tsunami forced the shutdown of nuclear reactors in the country. The sanctions could severely limit Tokyo's ability to buy Iranian oil without running afoul of the punitive measures.
According to Al-Watan, Japanese officials asked Saudi Arabia to compensate for any potential loss of Iranian oil to Japan.