The Japanese government is enforcing a ban on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, preventing Japanese financial institutions from doing business with it, government sources revealed on Tuesday. This move was done to cooperate closely with the stand spearheaded by the United States in dealing with the secluded country over its nuclear weapons program.
Japan’s agreement and plans were conveyed to David Cohen, U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, first by the Japanese Finance Ministry and then by Foreign Ministry officials as the American official was visiting the country. The two countries have agreed on strengthening ties in imposing sanctions on North Korea, the sources added. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the government-planned financial sanction will be more or less “like” the measure recently announced by Washington, which bans U.S. banks from carrying out transactions with the Foreign Trade Bank.
There are currently no transactions between Japanese banks and North Korea’s primary foreign exchange institution, but Japan hopes that making the sanctions public will prompt other countries, especially North Korea’s main ally China, to put stronger pressure on Pyongyang. Washington’s unilateral sanctions have come in the wake of North Korea’s third nuclear test in February, as the test was done in defiance of heavy international opposition. Following the nuclear test, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a new resolution authorizing stronger sanctions against North Korea. Suga said that based on the U.N.’s resolution, Japan will promptly implement all possible measures, including possibly restricting the movement of people to North Korea. He also called on the international community to steadily execute the U.N. resolution.