Japan has rejected requests for entry by five North Koreans due to tightened immigration regulations imposed after Pyongyang’s missile tests on July 5, the Justice Ministry said.
The group included Sin Kim Nyo, 75, and two others seeking the remains of relatives forcibly brought to Japan from the annexed Korean Peninsula before and during the war. The other two were an interpreter and a caregiver.
“A comprehensive judgment was made based on it,” a ministry official said. The North Koreans have been notified of their rejections.
Chongryun, the pro-Pyongyang group known as the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which was handling the paperwork on their behalf, condemned the action and said it was “an unprecedented measure.” The applications were submitted June 12.
The five were hoping to visit Japan from this Thursday through early August and planned to give speeches to citizens’ groups in Tokyo and Aichi and Osaka prefectures.
After the missile launches, Japan announced a set of sanctions against Pyongyang that barred the docking of the Mangyongbong-92 — a cargo vessel that also ferries passengers between the communist North and Japan — for half a year.
The sanctions deny the entry of North Korean government officials and increase scrutiny of applications from regular North Korean citizens.
In December 2004, Japan barred members of a North Korean delegation planning to participate in a memorial for former Imperial Japanese Army officers conscripted from the Korean Peninsula. Two North Korean relatives of the officers, however, were allowed to enter.
Meanwhile, a team of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers agreed Monday to compile by next Monday an outline of a bill to impose financial sanctions on North Korea, members of the team said.
The outline is expected to include a measure in which the government can ban financial institutions from conducting transactions with entities suspected of laundering money for North Korea.
Japan is working on other economic sanctions, among them restrictions on remittances and the transfer of financial assets, in light of a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the missile launches adopted earlier this month.
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