North Korea agrees to probe abductions, Japan reciprocates with easing of sanctions

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 12:27

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Tokyo: In what Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called as rewarding “an action with an action”, Japan has decided to lift some sanctions on North Korea on Thursday, after talks with Pyongyang`s assured of an investigation into abductions carried out decades ago.

Japan says that dozens of its citizens were kidnapped by North Korean elements in 1970`s and 80`s. It was in 2002 that the Hermit Kingdom agreed to abductions for the first time and allowed five victims to return home.

However, no clear information was given on the remaining.

This week diplomats of the two country talked about the abductions and the North agreed to re-investigate the cases.

Pleased with the move, Japanese PM Mr Abe decided to lift some of the sanctions on North Korea.

“Based on the principle to reward an action with an action, I would like to lift a part of sanctions that Japan has taken," he told reporters.
Japan bans port calls by any North Korean-flag vessels, all trade with North Korea and the entry into Japan of North Korean citizens. Tokyo has said that if its concerns are satisfied, it would allow more people exchanges, ease requirements to report money transfers to the North and raise limits on how much cash can be carried to the North. It would allow North Korean ships to make port calls for humanitarian purposes.

Even a partial thaw could provide Pyongyang with a small but potentially meaningful boost to its recent efforts at promoting international tourism and, perhaps farther down the road, increased trade.

First Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 09:39

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