Foreign Minister Taro Kono urged Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday to ensure the U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea are implemented to halt its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

Kono said he stressed the importance of preventing the North from evading the punitive measures by transferring petroleum products between vessels at sea. The Singaporean minister shared his view, he said.

Kono told reporters that he offered Japanese assistance in preventing "Southeast Asian nations from becoming a loophole" in the sanctions.