• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Sunday that the government will tighten cargo inspections to prevent the possibility of items being diverted to North Korea for military use.

In a speech in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Kishida said the government plans by the end of the month to begin targeting cargo ships from third countries that could enter North Korean ports.

The measure is in line with the U.N. Security Council’s March 2016 sanctions resolution on North Korea. It is believed that home appliances in Japan are being diverted for military use in the North.

“We will strengthen further regulations on cargo between North Korea and third countries,” Kishida said. “I have instructed that the work be completed, hopefully by the end of this month.”

The government maintains a list of items that could be linked with nuclear and missile development, and the Japan Coast Guard inspects ships that might be carrying them.

The planned revision will empower the Japan Coast Guard to inspect ships and seize suspect items, even those not on the list, if it concludes the items might be diverted for use by the North’s military.

Tokyo has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

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