Tokyo: The Japanese government on Tuesday
approved extending its sanctions against North Korea for one
more year following Pyongyang`s long-range missile test in
The sanctions, which expire April 13, include banning all
imports from and exports to North Korea. Japan has been
imposing its own punitive measures on North Korea since the
The extension by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko
Noda comes at a time when North Korea is preparing for the
launch of a satellite on a long-range rocket to mark the
centennial of the April 15 birth of its founder Kim Il Sung.
Japan and many other countries believe that the planned
launch in mid-April is actually a test of a long-range
ballistic missile in violation of UN Security Council
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a news
conference that the extension is "aimed at prodding North
Korea to take concrete actions to settle various outstanding
Japan maintains a policy of seeking a comprehensive
resolution to the issue of North Korea`s past abductions of
Japanese citizens together with the issues of its nuclear and
North Korea agreed in 2008 in bilateral talks with Japan
that it will reinvestigate the cases of Japanese nationals
abducted in the 1970s and 1980s, but this has yet to happen.
Pyongyang has also failed to take specific denuclearisation
Japan is exploring the possibility of introducing
additional punitive measures if North Korea goes ahead with
the launch, according to government officials.
On imposing further measures, Fujimura said, "We will
make a judgment with a sense of urgency and in a comprehensive
manner looking at moves within the international community."
Jin Matsubara, minister in charge of the abduction issue,
told a separate press conference that normalizing diplomatic
ties is "impossible without a resolution to the abduction
At the same time, Matsubara expressed willingness to take
a positive approach to North Korea if the North moves forward
with the abduction issue.