Japan cabinet okays easing some sanctions on North Korea

The Japanese cabinet Friday gave the green light to ease some of its sanctions imposed on North Korea, media reported.

IANS| Last Updated: Jul 04, 2014, 12:27 PM IST

Tokyo: The Japanese cabinet Friday gave the green light to ease some of its sanctions imposed on North Korea, media reported.

The final decision was made after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s comments Thursday that Japan would lift some sanctions related to the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, Xinhua reported citing Kyodo News.

Abe said Thursday at a press briefing that Japan would partially lift its sanctions imposed on North Korea, after a meeting between the two countries in Beijing, China, Tuesday on the abduction issue, which prevented the two from establishing diplomatic ties.

Abe told reporters after a meeting with relevant ministers that the team launched by North Korea to re-investigate the whereabouts of the Japanese citizens it allegedly kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s contains powerful defence commission members.

According to local reports, Japan is expected to lift sanctions on visits and special restrictions against North Korea regarding money remittance and money carried by visitors, and to ease the embargo on the entry of North Korea-flagged ships with a humanitarian mission into Japanese ports.

On Wednesday, the US, with which Japan cooperates over North Korea`s missile and nuclear issues, urged Japan to treat the abduction issue separately from dealing with the two military issues, according to local report.

South Korea Thursday said it welcomed Japan`s decision on easing some sanctions on North Korea, but also said that it hoped the move should be a "transparent" one that would not block international efforts on dealing with North Korea`s nuclear and missile programmes.

Any of Japan`s decisions on North Korea "should be made in such a way as not to undermine the framework of maintaining international cooperation, including that among South Korea, the United States and Japan, on its nuclear and missile programs," a South Korean foreign ministry spokesman said in a press briefing.

At the same time, China also said that Japan`s decision should be conducive to regional peace and stability.

"We hope the improvement of DPRK (North Korea)-Japan relations through negotiation can be conducive to regional peace and stability," said China`s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.