TOKYO — Japan on Tuesday expanded its unilateral sanctions on North Korea, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet approving the freezing of assets linked to the nation’s 35 entities and individuals to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs.
The approval came a day after Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to maximize pressure on North Korea in their summit talks in Tokyo. The Japanese leader announced the plan in a joint press conference after the meeting.
Subject to the fresh sanctions are nine North Korean banks and 26 individuals based in North Korea, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Libya, according to the Foreign Ministry. All of them were designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as targets of asset freezes in September.
Japan’s latest move brought the total to 84 organizations and 108 individuals subject to sanctions imposed by Tokyo.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga underlined the necessity for the new measures, telling a press conference, “We absolutely cannot tolerate North Korea’s behavior as it has repeated provocative acts in defiance of a series of warnings from the international community.”
The top government spokesman also pointed out there has been no progress in the negotiation to return Japanese nationals abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tokyo has so far frozen the assets of organizations and individuals associated with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development projects, exports of coal and other minerals, and the dispatch of North Korean laborers to other countries.
Japan’s sanctions are designed to deal an economic blow to North Korea by restricting the movement of people, materials and money to and from the country.