Japan will help developing nations in Africa and Asia that maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea enforce U.N. trade sanctions in an effort to maximize pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions, a government source said Saturday.
By helping to train personnel and providing equipment to stem arms trade and money laundering, Japan hopes to cut key North Korean sources for acquiring foreign currency.
The Foreign Ministry is expected to earmark 1.2 billion yen ($10.8 million) for that purpose in the supplementary budget for the fiscal year ending in March so Japan can cooperate with the United Nations and other international agencies in providing assistance.
North Korea is believed to acquire foreign currencies through the trade of arms and ammunition in Africa, where some nations also have relied on Pyongyang to train soldiers.
But some African countries have moved to severe economic ties with North Korea and require North Korean military and company officials to leave since last September, when North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, the source said.
As a result of cooling ties between North Korea and these developing countries, Tokyo believes there is an opportunity to boost the effectiveness of the sanctions through the proposed action, the source said.
Specifically, Japan plans to host meetings of customs officials and experts to enhance the capabilities of border control personnel in stopping the arms trade.
In Southeast Asia, financial authorities will be trained in preventing money laundering, the source said.
And in sub-Saharan Africa countries with particularly weak trade controls, Japan will help them introduce and use devices to detect materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons and missiles.
Since North Korea is also suspected of evading sanctions through cargo transfers at sea, Japan will also consider helping Pacific island nations boost their patrolling capabilities.