News / Asia

Following Abduction Talks, Japan to Lift Some North Korea Sanctions

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks to media at his official residence in Tokyo, July 3, 2014.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks to media at his official residence in Tokyo, July 3, 2014.
VOA News

Japan has agreed to lift some sanctions against North Korea, as the two countries continue talks on Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said the move represents the start of a "comprehensive resolution" to the abduction issue. He provided no details on what sanctions would be lifted or when.

"Under the principle of action being repaid by action, I want to lift part of the sanctions Japan has imposed. However, this is just a start," said Abe.

Tokyo and Pyongyang held talks this week at North Korea's embassy in Beijing to address the abductions, which have long been a major irritant to bilateral relations. The two countries do not have formal ties.

North Korea acknowledged in 2002 that it abducted 13 Japanese citizens to teach its spies about Japanese culture. Five of the abductees were returned. The North said the rest are dead, but many in Japan suspect at least a dozen more were kidnapped.

North Korea agreed in May to form a special panel to look into the abductions in exchange for Tokyo relaxing some longstanding sanctions. However, there have been concerns in Tokyo about whether the North Korean panel would have enough power to adequately address the issue.

Abe said Thursday Japan has determined the North has established an "unprecedented framework" to resolve the issue. He said this could include top level organizations such as the North's National Defense Commission or its National Security Agency.     

Japan's Kyodo news agency says the panel would include a member of the country's powerful National Defense Commission, which is led by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The decision to lift sanctions comes amid regional worries over North Korea's advances in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which are prohibited by U.N. sanctions.

South Korea's foreign ministry on Thursday called for Japan's sanctions-lifting process to be "carried out transparently." It also said any action by Tokyo should not damage international cooperation on North Korea's weapons programs.

Japan has insisted that its decision to lift sanctions does not mean it disagrees with its allies, the United States and South Korea, with regards to North Korea's nuclear program.

Tokyo's sanctions against North Korea are separate from the international sanctions regime imposed as a result of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More