Go to contents

Japan, “Quiet” Sanctions against NK

Posted February. 23, 2005 22:47,   


Even though the Japanese government has not officially announced its economic sanction measures against North Korea, it is pressing with “quiet sanctions” against North Korea in various fields.

Since the North could use it as a reason for refusing to participate in the next six-party talks, Japan has not officially declared its enforcement of sanction measures against the North. However, in reality, it is a heightened oppressive strategy that strictly applies the existing laws toward NK.

The Mainichi Daily News reported on Sunday that the Japanese government plans to regulate the entry of North Korean ships into Japanese ports, with the start of the “Compensation for Sea Pollution Law,” which prohibits the entrance of ships that has not registered for sea pollution insurance into the Japanese ports, on March 1.

The law requires the owners of ships over 100 tons in weight to register for liability insurance before entering Japanese ports, but the law is actually targeting NK. The insurance application rate for North Korean ships is merely 2.5 percent.

The Japanese government is planning to cut the supply of financial funds to North Korea by: heightening the level of inspection on the goods brought by visitors from NK; strengthening the surveillance on “The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryun)” financial institutions; and cancellation of tax exemption benefit provided to Chongryun related facilities.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has enforced the inspection of the label of the origin to control the distribution of sea products from NK, which comprises more than half of NK exports to Japan.

Also, the Cabinet ordered all government branches to look for cases that demonstrate sanction effect with the current laws and ordinances, instead of putting into operation the Foreign Exchange Control Law and the Prohibition of the Entry of Specific Ships Law, which were revised last year.

A Japanese foreign ministry related officer said, “This law does not target any specific country, so North Korea should not complain about it, saying that such ‘enactment of sanctions’ is a declaration of war.”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com