Japan to unveil new sanctions

Kyodo News

The Cabinet will unveil a basic guideline Friday for new sanctions against North Korea over its rocket launch despite repeated warnings from Tokyo for restraint, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Monday.

“The government is currently proceeding with discussions (on new sanctions), while taking into account developments in the international community and the U.N. Security Council,” Kawamura said.

The government is trying to introduce the new measures before the current economic sanctions expire April 13.

Kawamura said Sunday shortly after the launch that the government was nearing a decision to extend the existing sanctions for one year instead for six months.

The current sanctions, including a port ban on the Mangyongbong-92 ferry, were imposed after Pyongyang tested ballistic missiles in July 2006 and were strengthened to bar imports following a nuclear test that October. The sanctions have been extended every six months.

Kawamura said last week the additional sanctions being considered include an embargo on exports and restricting goods to be carried by people entering North Korea.

On Sunday’s launch, Kawamura said Japan has yet to confirm if the rocket carried a communications satellite, as claimed by the reclusive state, or was a ballistic missile as Japan and its allies suspected.

“NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command reported that the launch was a failure and I understand that this is an important piece of information, but the Japanese government is also conducting its own analysis,” he said, referring to the report by the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command officials that no object entered orbit after the launch.