Japan lifted sanctions on Iran on January 22, a move that follows confirmation by the UN's atomic energy watchdog last week that Tehran has complied with its commitments to curb its nuclear program under a deal with world powers.
"Japan would like to strengthen our cooperative relationship with Iran further and contribute to the peace and stability of the Middle East through our traditional friendly relationship with Iran," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said as he made the announcement at a press conference in Tokyo.
Japan's sanctions against Iran included suspensions on new investment in the Islamic republic's oil and gas sector. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that Japan is expected to sign an investment agreement with Tehran soon.
Global companies are scrambling to tap into resource-rich Iran after long being barred from doing business there. Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. said a day earlier that it is contemplating a return to the Iranian market.
The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations lifted nuclear-related sanctions against Iran after the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency announced on January 16 that Tehran had met its obligations under the nuclear deal it signed with six world powers in July.