March 30, 2010 / 3:54 AM / 9 years ago

Japan to extend sanctions against North Korea

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will extend sanctions against North Korea first imposed after the reclusive country tested a nuclear device and ballistic missiles in 2006, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The sanctions, previously set to expire on April 13, ban imports from North Korea and prohibit North Korean ships from calling at Japanese ports.

“Basically, I don’t see any reason for not extending (the sanctions),” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told a news conference.

Asked whether the government would consider shortening the duration of the sanctions to six months from one year, Hirano said it would assess the outlook for multilateral talks that seek to persuade North Korea to roll back its nuclear program.

Japan has called for Pyongyang to return to the disarmament-for-aid talks hosted by China, in addition to pressing the country to reveal the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

Japan also banned exports to the country last year although the impact was seen as being small given limited trade flows.

Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by Kazunori Takada

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