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The expiration day of the Japanese government’s tough sanctions against North Korea is drawing near again. Japan imposed a package of sanctions as punishment for North Korea’s nuclear test in October 2006 and has renewed them two times since then. There have been no traces of any North Korean products in Japan, nor has any North Korean passport holder entered Japan.

Currently it seems quite abnormal for two countries like Japan and North Korea not to have any sort of official government-oriented bilateral relations, economic ties or human exchange. It is no exaggeration to say that the two countries are in a war without fire.

And who has benefited from the sanctions? Nobody. On the contrary, many people have suffered innumerable inconveniences as well as mental and economic damage. Even talks on the issue of abducted Japanese nationals have not advanced a bit. It is high time that the Japanese government reconsider its hawkish attitude toward North Korea if it really seeks peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Japanese sanctions against North Korea are due to expire April 13. As one of the peace-loving Korean residents in Japan who sincerely wishes a bright and hopeful future for Japan and North Korea, I hope the Fukuda Cabinet will favorably consider canceling the sanctions.

jun kim