Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet announced new unilateral sanctions on North Korea on Friday, targeting six companies and one individual of China and Namibia, and another individual of unknown nationality.
The measures follow new U.S. Treasury Department designations on Tuesday against entities and individuals in China, Russia, Singapore, and Namibia for supporting North Korea’s special weapons programs, mineral trade and use of overseas labor.
“It is extremely important to keep pressuring North Korea in coordination with the U.S., South Korea, and other countries,” Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan told reporters on Friday.
The new Japanese sanctions are designed to freeze the assets of those who allegedly facilitate North Korean coal exports and coordinate overseas labor, potentially in breach of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions.
With the new sanctions coming into effect, Japan has so far frozen the assets of 72 entities and 81 individuals associated with Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development projects, its trade of coal, and dispatch of workers abroad.
“Enforcement of unilateral sanctions against entities and individuals that have violated the UNSC resolutions is an obligation of UN member state since 2013,” Katsuhisa Furukawa, a former member of the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea, told NK News on Friday.
For Japan’s new unilateral sanctions to be effective, Furukawa said, more coordination among UN member states would now be required.
“Each country responsible for the regulation of key currencies, such as United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Japan, and ROK, has to enforce unilateral sanctions,” he said.
Meanwhile, during a 30-minute telephone conversation later on Friday, the leaders of Japan and South Korea agreed on the need to continue to work together on sanctions and pressure on North Korea, Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
“The two leaders agreed to cooperate with the international community through close South Korea-Japan cooperation, and South Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation for the complete dismantlement (of the North’s nuclear and missile programs),” Park Soo-hyun, presidential spokesperson, told reporters.
Moon “highly appreciates” Japan’s latest measures, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura later said.
While the new measures might complicate North Korea’s overseas cash generating revenues, precedence suggests that China will likely oppose the latest move by Japan.
“We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately correct its mistake, so as not to impact bilateral cooperation on relevant issues,” the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. said about the Treasury measures.
For its part South Korea is yet to detail additional unilateral sanctions it said it was considering following North Korea’s two July tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“I hope [the government] will review strong and practical measures so that the firm response won’t be just words (without action) and North Korea will realize it,” South Korean President Moon said when he ordered his government consider new measures.
Edited by: Chad O’Carroll
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Featured Image: National Diet Building (JAPAN) - 07 by beve4 on 2010-06-19 16:16:45