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Japan seeks to strengthen sanctions on North Korea
Publication Date : 16-04-2012
The Japanese government has begun considering how to intensify sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the country's missile launch last week.
The government is reviewing tougher economic sanctions, such as lowering the limits on cash flow allowed to be remitted to the country.
Currently, an individual can send up to 3 million yen (US$37,000) to North Korea via financial institutions and take up to 100,000 yen ($1,200) there in cash without reporting the transfers to the Japanese authorities.
The limits have already been lowered twice from past sanctions, and the current levels are just 10 per cent of those before the start of the sanctions.
According to the Finance Ministry, there are not many money transfers to North Korea at present, with the total amount of cash remitted "around 500 million yen ($6.1 million) a year".
Thus government officials assume lowering the limits will have little effect. But a Foreign Ministry official said, "It will serve as a significant message to the rest of the world."
The government has gradually toughened sanctions since 2006 following North Korea's missile launches and nuclear tests.
As the government has already implemented strict measures such as a total ban on trade with the country and a ban on North Korean ships' entry into Japanese ports, it now has few available measures as options.
Due to the possibility that North Korea may conduct another nuclear experiment, a government source said, "If we use up all available sanctions now, we'll lose options for the future."