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LDP panel calls for total ban on exports, travel to N. Korea+
[November 21, 2008]

LDP panel calls for total ban on exports, travel to N. Korea+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Nov. 21_(Kyodo) _ A ruling Liberal Democratic Party committee compiled Friday a draft bill calling for Japan's additional sanctions on North Korea, including total bans on exports and travel to the reclusive state, committee members said.

The special committee for tackling the issue of North Korea's abductions of Japanese nationals put together the proposed measure in response to Pyongyang's reluctance to launch a fresh investigation of Japanese abductees despite its promise to do so.

The LDP plans to further consider the matter with a view toward seeking the possibility of working on a joint bill with the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which has already been compiling a similar proposal, the members said.

The LDP committee's 14-point plan calls for a ban on the entry of all ships that have made stops in North Korea into Japanese ports and the reinforcement of financial measures such as freezing the bank accounts of all groups related to North Korea, according to the members.

It also includes a proposal for Japan on its own accord to designate North Korea as a state supporting terrorism, they said.

The committee also approved a bill to revise a Japanese law urging North Korea to resolve human rights issues by incorporating a new clause that calls for the resolution of the abduction issue through the early repatriation of Japanese victims and fact-finding involving the abductions.

Informed sources said in early November that the DPJ has compiled a 14-point draft proposal for additional economic sanctions against North Korea, including total bans on exports and travel to the country.

North Korea agreed with Japan in August to launch a panel to reinvestigate the Japanese abduction cases and try to complete the reinvestigation by the fall, while Japan promised to lift some of its sanctions -- those on charter flights and entry of North Korean nationals -- in return once the probes began.

But after then Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda abruptly announced his resignation on Sept. 1, North Korea told Japan that the setting up of the panel will be suspended until Pyongyang confirms the policy of the new Japanese administration.

Japan extended in October the period of its existing set of economic sanctions against the North, seeing that Pyongyang has yet to fulfill its promise to launch reinvestigations into the abduction cases.

Copyright ? 2008 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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