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Japan has lifted its freeze on financial contributions to an international project to build light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.Terusuke Terada, Japan’s ambassador to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), signed the cost-sharing agreement Wednesday with other KEDO board members — the United States, South Korea and Europe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said.KEDO is an international consortium providing North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors in the hopes of preventing North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.However, Japan will not lift other punitive measures against North Korea that have been imposed in protest of Pyongyang’s Aug. 31 launch of a rocket that flew over Japanese territory. Japan had been urged by the U.S. and South Korea to sign the agreement. The move will pave the way for Japan to provide nearly $1 billion in financial assistance to the projects.Although the agreement was originally scheduled to be signed on Aug. 31, Japan canceled the signing after it was angered by North Korea’s launch the same day of a rocket, part of which flew over Japanese territory and landed in the Pacific Ocean.While Japan accused North Korea of testing a new ballistic missile, Pyongyang insisted that the launch was of a rocket that placed a satellite into orbit.

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