Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe suggested Friday the Cabinet may decide to impose financial sanctions against North Korea next Tuesday under a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Pyongyang’s July missile launches.
“Right now, the government is in principle considering the issue,” Abe said when asked about reports that the decision will be made Tuesday — a day before the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s presidential election.
Foreign Minister Taro Aso told a news conference that the date for the decision has not yet been fixed, calling the reports “speculation.”
Government sources said Thursday the sanctions include banning remittances and transfers of financial assets, targeting individuals and groups suspected of having links with Pyongyang’s development of weapons of mass destruction, and an embargo on North Korean exports of missile-related products.
If a Cabinet decision is made Tuesday, the sanctions are expected to take effect before the Diet picks a new leader on Sept. 26.
Abe, who is expected to become the next prime minister, repeated his call for North Korea to immediately return to the stalled six-party talks on its weapons program without preconditions. The conservative lawmaker has a reputation for taking a tough line with the North.
Calling the test-launches on July 5 “a defiance of the world,” Abe said he wants “to step up international pressure” on Pyongyang.
The U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea, adopted in mid-July and promptly rejected by North Korea, requires all U.N. member states to prevent the transfer of any financial resources, goods and technology, linked to North Korea’s weapons programs.
Since the resolution was adopted, Japan has been consulting with the United States, its closest ally, on joint implementation of the sanctions.
Tokyo already has imposed a set of unilateral sanctions against North Korea, including a six-month ban on port calls by a North Korean ferry and the entry to Japan of North Korean officials.
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