Japan extends sanctions against North Korea
Apr 9, 2010, 6:34 GMT
Tokyo - Japan decided Friday to extend its sanctions against North Korea for one year as Pyongyang failed to reinvestigate cases of Japanese citizens abducted by its agents, a top government spokesman said.
North Korea has not returned the six-party nuclear talks either, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said.
The stalled talks between China, South Korea, Russia, the United States, Japan and North Korea are aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear arms programmes. North Korea walked out of negotiations in April 2009 in protest over United Nations-backed sanctions.
The Japanese sanctions were first imposed after North Korea tested ballistic missiles and a nuclear device in 2006. They had been set to expire April 13. The measures include a ban on North Korean vessels from making port calls in Japan.
It is the first time that the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has been faced with a decision on the sanctions since his party, the Democratic Party of Japan, took power in September.
The sanctions produced 'a certain effect,' Hirano told a news conference Friday. But he suspected that trade has continued through a third country.
'This is an issue we must study in the future because cooperation with related countries will be necessary, given that there is a question about whether Japan can handle it alone,' Hirano said.
The Japanese public was enraged by North Korea's nuclear testing and the abduction issue. More than a dozen Japanese nationals were abducted by North Korean agents during the 1970s and 1980s, the government said.
In 2002, the reclusive state's leader Kim Jong-Il admitted to the abductions. But Japan suspected there were other cases of abduction and demanded Pyongyang continue to investigate them.