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Japan Imposes Further Sanctions on North Korea


Japan has moved to impose additional economic sanctions against North Korea in response to its claimed nuclear test earlier this week. The new measures amount to a ban on all trade between Japan and the impoverished communist state.

The security council of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to enact new sanctions against North Korea.

The prime minister says there will essentially be a total ban on all North Korean products coming into Japan.

Mr. Abe adds that the measures, to be endorsed by the cabinet on Friday, also include barring all North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports. In addition, he says, nearly all North Koreans will be excluded from visiting Japan, extending the restrictions put in place after Pyongyang's missile tests in July.

Japanese media reports say that midday there are 24 North Korean vessels in Japanese ports, but cargo handlers are refusing to load or unload the ships.

The two countries have never established diplomatic relations, but two-way authorized trade totals about $200 million annually.

Japan took the unilateral step without waiting for action by the United Nations.

The United States has asked the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution imposing sanctions. These proposed measures include inspecting vessels headed to North Korea to search for materials that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction.

The move by Washington brought a furious response from North Korea.

A North Korean television announcer reporting that if the United States continues to apply such pressure, Pyongyang will consider the action a declaration of war and will make a physical response.

Earlier, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki demanded Pyongyang return to six-party talks on its nuclear program.

North Korea has insisted on one-on-one talks with the United States. But Washington says the only appropriate format for resolving the nuclear dispute is the six-nation talks, which are hosted by China and also involve Russia, Japan, and South Korea.

North Korea has been boycotting the talks for almost a year in protest of U.S. financial sanctions imposed for Pyongyang's alleged money laundering and counterfeiting activities.

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