Japan puts pressure on North Korea over abduction issue

Featured - January 14th, 2013
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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to add pressure on Pyongyang over the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens with independent sanctions.

The government plans to expand travel restrictions on top officials of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon) which will prohibit them from re-entering Japan if they travel to North Korea, reports The Asahi Shimbun.

The hawkish prime minister, known for his hard-line stance on North Korea, has vowed to resolve the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens “at any cost” and plans to set up a new headquarters comprising all Cabinet members by late January. This will replace the current abduction issue headquarters, created by the under the Democratic Party of Japan.

Abe also plans to reinstate a policy to seek the handover of North Korean agents responsible for abductions and allocate 1.2 billion yen for the abduction issue in fiscal 2013.

Abe sought to independently impose stronger sanctions on North Korea when international sanctions over what nations believe is a banned missile test failed to materialize.

The planned new sanctions raised questions whether they will be effective with an outright ban on trade with North Korea already in place. Abe said he would put pressure “on other fronts”.

“I will resolve the abduction issue under my Cabinet at any cost,” Abe told family members of abductees last month soon after he took office. “There are more sanctions Japan can impose on its own”.