Japan extends sanctions on North Korea

TOKYO, April 3 (UPI) -- Roughly 10 days before North Korea's planned long-range rocket launch, Tokyo announced Tuesday it was extending sanctions on Pyongyang for another year.

Sanctions imposed by the Japanese government North Korea expire April 13. The government said Tuesday it extended sanctions on exports to and imports from North Korea for another year, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reports.


North Korea last month announced plans for a mid-April deployment of an Earth observation satellite using a long-range rocket. The announcement followed Pyongyang's commitment to halt such launches and freeze its nuclear program in exchange for food assistance from the United States.

The Japanese government said it was ready to shoot the rocket down if it crossed over its territory. Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan's top nuclear envoy, said it was premature to discuss an international response to the planned rocket launch.

He stressed, Yonhap reports, that "contingency" plans were in place, however.

Washington has described North Korea's plans as a provocative action. North Korea said last week it was committed to the launch despite the international pressure.

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