Japan extends sanctions with North Korea
Japan has extended sanctions with North Korea for another six months until April, as it seeks progress over nuclear issues and the abduction of Japanese citizens in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the BBC reports.
The decision comes at a time when North Korea appears to be reaching out to the rest of the world by agreeing to end its nuclear program in return for, aid but Japan is frustrated by a lack of cooperation over the kidnappings and wants concrete evidence of its nuclear back-down.
In 2002 North Korea admitted to snatching 13 Japanese for use as spy trainers, returning five and saying the other eight were dead. Japan wants concrete proof of the deaths and believes that more people were taken.
“We saw the need to extend the sanctions because there has been no progress over the abduction issue,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura. “We also took into comprehensive consideration the overall situation involving North Korea, including the nuclear issue.”
Japan first imposed sanctions after North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006. A U.S.-led team is due to visit North Korea this week to supervise the process of dismantling the nuclear installations.
The Japanese sanctions ban imports from North Korea and prohibits sailings by the Mangyongbong-92 ferry, the only direct link between the two countries.