In the News – Japan extends N.K. sanctions for one more year
TOKYO, April 3 (Yonhap) — Japan said Tuesday it will extend sanctions on North Korea for one more year, in a move that comes just days ahead of Pyongyang’s planned rocket launch.
The Japanese cabinet made the decision ahead of the April 13 expiration of current sanctions banning exports to and imports from North Korea. The sanctions also prohibit all North Korean ships from making port calls in Japan.
Japan imposed sanctions on the communist country following the North’s nuclear and missile tests in 2006, and has since extended the punitive measures.
It is the first time for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s cabinet to approve the extension of the sanctions.
The decision came hours after Japan’s top nuclear envoy said contingency plans are being considered to cope with North Korea’s planned rocket launch.
Shinsuke Sugiyama said it is still too early to talk in detail about what the international community will do if the North goes ahead with its launch.
“We are urging (North Korea) not to do what they announced,” he told reporters on Monday in Washington after meetings with senior U.S. officials.
North Korea claims the launch set for sometime between April 12 and 16 is designed to put an earth observation satellite into orbit.
However, South Korea, the United States and other regional powers suspect the launch could be a cover for testing the North’s ballistic missile technology, an activity banned under a U.N. resolution.
Also Tuesday, Japan’s top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said it would be improper for the Japanese space agency to observe North Korea’s rocket launch, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is set to decline an invitation from the North, Kyodo reported, citing several unidentified government sources.
The North last week invited foreign experts and reporters to what could be the first outside observation of a rocket launch by them. It was not yet clear which foreign delegations, if any, will visit the communist country for the event.
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