Japan is to impose new sanctions on North Korea to protest against a rocket launch seen as a test of missile technology.
The sanctions will include expanded restrictions on travel between the two countries and a complete ban on visits by North Korean ships to Japanese ports, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Despite our repeated requests to stop nuclear tests and missile development, [North Korea] pushed ahead with the launch. It has a direct impact on Japan and we need to show our strong determination,” Suga said.
He said, however, that Japan will keep a door open for dialogue to resolve the still-outstanding issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea decades ago.
North Korea launched a long-range rocket into space on Sunday carrying what it said was an Earth observation satellite. The launch, which came about a month after the country’s fourth nuclear test, was quickly condemned by world leaders as a potential threat to regional and global security.
Suga said thatthe sanctions would be approved by the cabinet later, and would also require legislative changes in parliament.
Japan in 2014 eased some earlier sanctions on North Korea in exchange for its pledge to re-investigate the fate of the Japanese abductees. Wednesday’s measures go slightly beyond the restoration of the previous measures.
The ban on port entry extends to any foreign ships intending to arrive in Japan after visiting North Korea.
The travel ban will also be broadened to include any foreigners with nuclear and missile expertise who visit North Korea.
All money transfers, except for those below 100,000 yen ($880) for humanitarian purposes, will be banned.
S Korea closes down border industrial park
Meanwhile, South Korea said on Wednesday that it would shut down a joint industrial park with North Korea in response to the North’s recent rocket launch, accusing the North of using hard currency from the park to develop its nuclear and missile programmes.
The decision will end operations at the industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, the last major co-operation project between the rival countries.
The move to close the park is the second major measure taken by South Korea in reaction to the launch. Seoul also has begun talks with Washington on toughening South Korea’s missile defence system.
The US Congress is also considering more stringent sanctions on North Korea.