Japan on Tuesday (local time) decided to extend its sanctions on North Korea for two more years, in a bid to pressurise Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme and to resolve the long-standing issue of abduction of Japanese nationals.
The sanctions impose a blanket ban on bilateral exports and imports and bars the entry of North Korean-registered vessels into Japanese waters, as well as ships which have stopped at a North Korean port, Japan Times reported.
Japan first slapped sanctions on North Korea in 2006 after the communist country's first nuclear arms test. In recent times, Tokyo extended the sanctions several times, in addition to the sanctions imposed in line with the UN Security Council resolutions.
Japan has blamed North Korea for the abduction of its 17 nationals and suspects Pyongyang's involvement in more disappearances of its citizens.
The move comes as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his keenness to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss denuclearisation and the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals.
Japan's move comes after the Hanoi summit in February between Kim and US President Donald Trump ended in a stalemate. No joint statement was released following the talks, as it is reported that the two countries could not resolve their differences on sanction waivers.
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