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Japan extends North Korea sanctions as abduction investigation stalls

March 31, 2015, 10:14 UTC+3 TOKYO
The sanctions include a ban on trade with Pyongyang as well entry ban for North Korean ships into Japanese ports with an exception of humanitarian cases
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TOKYO, March 31. /TASS/. Japan has extended for two years unilateral sanctions against North Korea expiring on April 13, citing no progress in the investigation into abductions of Japanese nationals, the Japanese government reports on Tuesday.

The sanctions include a ban on trade with Pyongyang as well entry ban for North Korean ships into Japanese ports with an exception of humanitarian cases, it said.

The decision comes as no progress has been reached in talks on abducted Japanese nationals, with North Korea failing to present new information on the issue at consultations in January.

The problem of abducted Japanese nationals is a sticking point in ties between the two countries that don’t have official diplomatic relations. In 2002, Pyongyang for the first time acknowledged the abduction of only 13 Japanese nationals, allowing five of them to return to Japan.

The others were declared dead, while their relatives received remains the authenticity of which was not confirmed. Tokyo has repeatedly demanded from North Korea to settle the dispute once and for all, but until last year Pyongyang had insisted that the problem was settled.

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