Japan extends North Korea sanctions by 2 years

Tokyo, Apr 6 (efe-epa).- The Japanese government on Tuesday extended its unilateral sanctions on North Korea for two more years to pressure the neighboring country into abandoning its missile and nuclear programs and progressing issues over the past abductions of Japanese nationals.

The measure was approved by the cabinet led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ahead of the current sanctions expiration date of Apr. 13.

The decision is aimed at ensuring compliance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference.

The sanctions include a ban on all trade with North Korea, and also prohibit the mooring in Japanese ports of ships registered in the neighboring country or that have passed through North Korean ports.

Tokyo’s decision comes after the regime on Mar. 25 tested two short-range ballistic missiles, in violation of UNSC resolutions.

The tests came at a time marked by Washington’s review of its strategy in dealing with Pyongyang, which has demanded a return to the denuclearization dialog without preconditions.

Japan began to apply sanctions on Pyongyang in 2006 that mainly affected maritime transport, and has since expanded them amid increasing tension on the Korean Peninsula and Pyongyang’s weapons tests.

Tokyo has also tried unsuccessfully to use these punitive measures to advance the repatriation of Japanese nationals kidnapped by the Pyongyang regime in the 1970s and 1980s, an issue that continues to represent the main obstacle to the normalization of bilateral relations. EFE-EPA


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