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TOKYO, September 18 (Itar-Tass) — The Japanese cabinet decided to refrain from toughening economic sanctions against North Korea, taking into account opening prospects for resuming talks between Pyongyang and other governments on denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, reported Japanese government quarters on Sunday.
The new package of sanctions against North Korea was adopted by Japan last April. The then premier Naoto Kan gave an instruction to ministers to study possibilities for toughening them if Pyongyang does not agree to resume talks on the fate of Japanese citizens, abducted the last century by North Korean secret services.
However, sources indicate that the cabinet, headed by premier Yoshihiko Noda early this month, believes that new sanctions will be counterproductive and will only deteriorate the search for ways to establish Japanese-North-Korean contacts, disrupted in 2008.
On April 5, the Japanese authorities extended by another year economic sanctions against North Korea. It was emphasised at the same time that Pyongyang “has not demonstrated any efforts to achieve progress” in settling the problem of kidnapped Japanese citizens.
“Pyongyang should, above all, undeviatingly push towards settling this question and problems, connected with implementation of the nuclear and missile problems,” said a spokesman of the Japanese government at the time.
The package of sanctions operating since 2006 includes a ban on import of North Korean goods and calls of ships flying the North Korean flag to Japanese ports. At the same time, Japanese authorities rigorously control export to that country: they ban deliveries of military goods, expensive cars, best grades of meat and fish.
In June 2009, Japan considerably stiffened unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang in response to North Korean nuclear tests, announcing complete end of all foreign trade operations with North Korea.