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Japan hits North Korea with new sanctions over missile launch

Japan on Friday sanctioned nine individuals and four entities with ties to North Korea's weapons program in response to the regime's launch of an ICBM last week.&nbsp; Photo by KCNA/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f928d6e4b8553b2d91ff7dc12a1335ef/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Japan on Friday sanctioned nine individuals and four entities with ties to North Korea's weapons program in response to the regime's launch of an ICBM last week.  Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, April 1 (UPI) -- Japan has announced a new round of sanctions against North Korea in response to its launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, officials said Friday.

Four entities and nine individuals connected with North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons program were designated as targets for asset freezes, Japan's foreign ministry said in a statement.

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The individuals are six North Koreans and three Russians, the ministry said. All four entities are Russian.

The move comes after Washington called on the United Nations Security Council to "update and strengthen the sanctions regime" against Pyongyang last week after the nuclear-armed state test-fired its first ICBM since 2017.

The missile splashed down in the sea a week ago less than 100 miles from the coast of Hokkaido, inside Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Japan also condemned North Korea's recent nuclear activity and its past abduction of Japanese citizens, which remains a highly charged diplomatic issue for Tokyo. The Japanese government officially lists 17 people as abducted in the 1970s and 1980s, but only five have ever been repatriated.

"Japan urges North Korea to take concrete actions to resolve issues related to issues such as abduction, nuclear weapons and missiles," government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press briefing Friday.

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Tokyo has imposed unilateral sanctions against North Korea since 2006, with the number now reaching 129 entities and 120 individuals, the foreign ministry said.

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