Tokyo extends trade ban with North Korea for two more years

Tokyo, Apr 7 (EFE).- Japan extended its sanctions against North Korea, including the ban on all trade, for two more years, amid the historic level of tension the Korean peninsula is experiencing with a record number of weapons tests by Pyongyang.

“We will make every possible effort to comprehensively solve the problems on nuclear and missile programs, in close coordination with the international community,” government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference Thursday.

The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida approved this extension before the sanctions expire Thursday, which came into force in 2006 and prohibit trade with the country and also the docking in Japan of any vessel that has made a stopover in a North Korean port.

Tokyo’s decision coincides with naval exercises carried out this week by South Korea, Japan and the United States near the Korean peninsula that sought to deal with the “increasing submarine threats” posed by Pyongyang.

These maneuvers came shortly after Pyongyang announced two tests of a nuclear submarine drone that can allegedly generate radioactive tsunamis to hit fleets and ports.

In addition to the weapons tests, Japan has also decided to maintain these sanctions in response to the kidnappings carried out by North Korea decades ago and which continue to be the main obstacle between Tokyo and Pyongyang, which do not maintain diplomatic relations.

Between 1977 and 1983, North Korea kidnapped at least 17 Japanese citizens – 9 women and 8 men – according to official figures from the Japanese government to act as language teachers and culture for North Korean spies. EFE


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