• Kyodo

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Japan will help developing nations in Africa and Asia that have diplomatic relations with North Korea enforce U.N. trade sanctions to maximize pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions, a government source said Saturday.

By helping to train personnel and by providing equipment to stem arms trade and money laundering, the government hopes to cut key North Korean sources of foreign currency.

The Foreign Ministry is expected to earmark ¥1.2 billion ($10.8 million) for the purpose in the supplementary budget for fiscal 2017 ending March so Japan can cooperate with the United Nations and other international agencies in providing assistance.

North Korea is believed to acquire foreign currencies through the trade of arms and ammunition in Africa, where some nations also rely on Pyongyang to train soldiers.

But some African governments began moving to sever economic ties with Pyongyang last September, when it conducted its sixth nuclear test, telling North Korean military and business officials to leave, the source said.

As a result of these cooling ties, Tokyo believes there is an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of the sanctions through the proposed actions, the source said.

The government plans to host meetings of customs officials and experts to improve the ability of their border control personnel to halt arms sales. In Southeast Asia, financial authorities will be trained to prevent money laundering, the source said. In sub-Saharan African countries with particularly weak trade controls, Japan will help them introduce and use devices to detect materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons and missiles.

Since North Korea is also suspected of evading sanctions via cargo transfers at sea, Japan will also consider helping Pacific island nations boost their patrol capabilities.

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