The government may prepare legislation to inspect North Korean cargo at sea if the U.N. Security Council adopts a resolution urging member states to clamp down on Pyongyang, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said Thursday.
“There is a good chance” that the necessary legislation will be passed during the current Diet session through July 28, Kawamura told reporters.
The Maritime Self-Defense Force can’t help inspect ships going to and from North Korea due to limitations under domestic law. Such inspections are permitted only if circumstances in the vicinity of Japan pose a serious threat to the nation’s peace and security.
Kawamura indicated the government will explore either revising existing laws or creating a new law to deal with the matter.
“The government needs to consider how Japan can respond to requests to inspect cargo, including domestic legislation,” Kawamura said, adding that under current law Japan cannot respond to a U.N. request to inspect vessels on the high seas.
On a resolution set to be adopted by the Security Council, he said, “We hope that it will be an effective resolution because it has strong content, such as a trade embargo on weapons, cargo inspections as well as financial (sanctions).”
The Liberal Democratic Party has started considering legislation on cargo inspections, with LDP Diet affairs chief Tadamori Oshima saying at a party meeting, “We may have to create a new law based on a resolution.”
Seven key U.N. members struck a final deal Wednesday on the text of a Security Council resolution over North Korea’s second nuclear test, featuring additional financial sanctions and stricter enforcement of cargo inspections.
The five permanent Security Council members — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Japan and South Korea submitted the resolution to the 15-member Security Council, which was convened shortly after the deal was cut.
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said Thursday the government will consider imposing additional sanctions on North Korea after the Security Council adopts the resolution.
“We will likely respond firmly by keeping in close contact with the ministries and agencies concerned,” Nakasone told the Upper House committee on diplomacy and defense.
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