Japan extends sanctions against North Korea

By RIA Novosti

Tokyo : Japan plans to extend economic sanctions against North Korea for another six months over the lack of progress in the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals, a cabinet spokesman said.

Support TwoCircles

“There is basically no progress in the abduction issue,” chief cabinet secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Sunday, as quoted by the Kyodo news agency.

“We are not in a situation in which we can stop or ease the sanctions,” he added.

Tokyo demands the return of its citizens abducted in the 1970s-80s. Pyongyang has acknowledged that it kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens, and that it subsequently sent five of them home, but insists that the rest are dead.

Pyongyang later said it would consider re-investigating the issue if Japan agreed to compensate North Korea for its colonial aggression between 1910-1945, end pressure on pro-North Korean residents in Japan, and lift sanctions.

The sanctions, originally imposed in October 2006 in response to North Korea’s nuclear test, have already been extended once in April 2007.

They include a ban on port calls by North Korean ships and on all North Korean imports. North Korean nationals are also barred from entering Japan, and Tokyo has halted the export of 24 items, including luxury goods, to the reclusive communist state.

The measure came as envoys of six nations held a new round of talks on North Korea’s denuclearisation in Beijing. The US, China, Russia, Japan, and the two Koreas took a two-day break Sunday to discuss a draft statement on the shutting down of the country’s nuclear facilities in exchange for aid.