Kuwait\'s crude oil exports to Japan jumped 46.0 percent in January from a year earlier to 9.25 million barrels, or 292,000 barrels per day (bpd), up for a second straight month, the government said Thursday. As Japan\'s fourth-biggest oil provider, Kuwait supplied 7.3 percent of the Asian nation\'s total crude imports, compared with 5.2 percent in the same month of 2012, according to a preliminary report by the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency. In January, Kuwait\'s crude oil exports to its key East Asian markets -- Japan, China and South Korea -- totaled 883,000 bpd, based on government data. Japan\'s overall imports of crude oil went up 3.2 percent year-on-year to 4. 06 million bpd for the second consecutive month of gain. Shipments from the Middle East accounted for 82.8 percent of the total, up 0.2 percentage points from the year before. Saudi Arabia remained Japan\'s biggest oil supplier, although imports from the kingdom fell 3.4 percent on the year to 1.28 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 857,000 bpd, up 1.0 percent. Qatar ranked third and its shipments surged 60.7 percent to 507,000 bpd and Russia was fifth with 260, 000 bpd, up 82.1 percent. Resources-poor Japan is the world\'s third-largest oil consumer after the US and China, and it relies on crude oil imports for about 50 percent of its energy needs. Shipments of direct-deal, which prices are based on the average spot price of Dubai crude, the benchmark for Asia, account for about 80 percent of Japan\'s crude imports.