The ruling Liberal Democratic Party approved a bill Friday that would require the government to impose sanctions on North Korea if it failed to make progress in addressing its human rights abuses, including the abductions of Japanese.

The bill was endorsed unanimously at a joint meeting of related LDP panels, including the foreign affairs division, held at the party headquarters, participants said.

The LDP plans to submit the proposed legislation to the Diet as a lawmaker-initiated bill, possibly by the end of this month, after going through several formalities within the party and consulting March 28 with New Komeito, its coalition partner.

LDP members said they also will seek support from the Democratic Party of Japan, its main opposition, to try to get the bill passed in the current Diet session, which will end in June.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said the bill was “meaningful” and would send a strong message to the international community about Japan’s attitude in dealing with North Korea.

Calls are mounting here to impose economic sanctions on North Korea to pressure it into meeting Japan’s demands over the abduction issue, including the repatriation of any abductees still in the North and the handover of agents responsible for the abductions.

In their meeting Friday, the LDP panels came up with a written request to the party’s prefectural chapters for them to ask their local governments to review their policies on exempting or reducing their taxes, including fixed property levies, on facilities of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun).

They also have decided to ask the prime minister’s office to take stronger action to address the abduction issue, the participants said.

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