Japan extends sanctions against North Korea
(dpa) - Japan's cabinet decided Friday to extend sanctions against North Korea for another six months, citing stalled nuclear talks with the communist country and the lack of progress in resolving North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s, media reports said.
The sanctions, which were levelled against Pyongyang after it conducted a nuclear test in October 2006, had been due to expire Sunday.
They include bans on North Korean imports and port calls by North Korean ships.
Relations between Tokyo and Pyongyang have long been tense. Although Japan has been taking part in six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear programmes and signed on to an agreement to provide energy and economic aid in return for concessions from Pyongyang, it has refused to provide aid until a resolution on the abductions.
While Tokyo charges that some of its citizens are being kept in North Korea, Pyongyang insists all the abduction victims, who were taken to instruct North Korean agents on Japanese language and culture, have either been returned to their home country or have died.