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Japan to extend expiring sanctions against North Korea


Japan to extend expiring sanctions against North Korea

North Korea
Photo: Kyodo

Japan has extended economic sanctions on North Korea that were set to expire today.

The sanctions–imposed in 2006 and extended on April 6 in response to North Korean missile tests conducted in March–ban all Japanese trade with North Korea and bar its ships from docking at Japanese ports. Expect Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden to discuss the missile tests during their April 16 summit in Washington.

Despite the extension, an air of open-mindedness still exists in the Japanese government towards North Korea. An April 9 parliamentary resolution that received support from ruling and opposition parties expressed a desire to cultivate diplomatic relations with Pyongyang to negotiate the release of Japanese nationals held captive by the hermit kingdom. While Pyongyang claims that all Japanese abductees were repatriated in 2002, Tokyo recognizes at least twelve of its citizens still in captivity.

While Pyongyang is unlikely to acknowledge its Japanese hostages, dialogue on the issue could pave the way for an easing of economic sanctions on North Korea. Suga recently reiterated his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in hopes of resolving the issue, and potentially easing these sanctions could foster warming relations.

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