TOKYO, July 4 -- The Japanese Cabinet on Friday gave a green light to ease some of its sanctions imposed on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), according to Japan's Kyodo News.
The final decision was made after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's comments on Thursday that Japan will lift some sanctions related to the Japan-DPRK abduction issue.
Abe said Thursday at a press briefing in his official residence that Japan will partially lift its sanctions imposed on the DPRK, after a meeting between the two countries in Beijing, China, Tuesday on the abduction issue, which prevented the two establishing diplomatic ties.
Abe told reporters after a meeting with relevant ministers that the team launched by the DPRK to reinvestigate into whereabouts of the Japanese it kidnapped in the 1970s and 1980s contains powerful Defense Commission members.
According to local reports, Japan is expected to lift sanctions on visits and special restrictions against the DPRK regarding money remittance and money carried by visitors, and to ease the embargo on the entry of DPRK-flagged ships with a humanitarian mission into Japanese ports.
On Wednesday, the United States, with which Japan cooperates over the DPRK's missile and nuclear issues, urged Japan to treat the abduction issue separately from dealing the two military issues, according to local report.
Meanwhile, a senior Japanese vice foreign minister said in Washington that the United States understands Japan's move to lift some restrictions is closely related to abduction issue imposed on the DPRK.
South Korea on Thursday said it welcomes Japan's decision on easing some sanctions over the DPRK, but also said that it hopes the move should be a "transparent" one that will not block international efforts on dealing with the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs.
Any of Japan's decisions on the DPRK "should be made in such a way as not to undermine the framework of maintaining international cooperation, including that among South Korea, the United States and Japan, on its nuclear and missile programs," South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in a press briefing.
At the same time, China also said that Japan's decision should be conducive to regional peace and stability. "We hope the improvement of DPRK-Japan relations through negotiation can be conducive to regional peace and stability," said China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.