Tokyo, April 7 (IANS) The Japanese government on Friday approved a two-year extension of its unilateral sanctions against North Korea, including a total blockade of trade, in response to Pyongyang’s latest missile tests.
The sanctions, which were scheduled to expire in mid-April, were imposed on North Korea in response to a lack of progress on the abductions of Japanese citizens by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s, and its repeated missile provocations, government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan will continue to implement its policy of bilateral talks and sanctions against North Korea, Efe news reported.
Tokyo imposed a set of unilateral sanctions on North Korea in response to its missile tests in 2006, which have since been extended several times.
These measures were endorsed simultaneously with sanctions by the UN Security Council.
Japan, together with the US and South Korea, tightened sanctions in December 2016, following North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
The sanctions include a total ban on trade and on the entry of North Korean vessels into Japanese ports.
Members of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known locally as Chongryon, are also prohibited from re-entering Japan if they leave the country to visit North Korea.
The tensions between Japan and North Korea have increased following a number of successful mid-range missile launches by North Korea in March, one of which fell about 200 km off the Japanese coast.