Japan decided on Tuesday to impose further sanctions on North Korea by freezing the assets of five more organizations over their involvement in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development programs, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said.
The additional sanctions, approved at a morning cabinet meeting, follow North Korea‘s repeated ballistic missile tests toward the Sea of Japan since late September, including one earlier this month that flew over the Japanese archipelago for the first time in five years. .
The five organizations include North Korea’s Ministry of Missile Industry and four trading firms, the State Department said.
“North Korea continues a series of high-frequency provocative actions, such as launching ballistic missiles 23 times this year,” Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told a news conference, calling North Korea’s actions “violent” and “totally unacceptable.”
Matsuno told reporters that Pyongyang’s provocations are a “serious and imminent threat” to Japan’s security, and such “reckless actions” threatening international peace and stability are “absolutely intolerable.”
“Japan is urging North Korea to take concrete steps to resolve various issues” including its nuclear and missile development programs as well as past abductions of Japanese citizens, Matsuno said.
Abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s are one of the main challenges facing Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration, Matsuno said.
The Japanese government’s action came after South Korea imposed unilateral sanctions on North Korea on Friday for the first time in five years after it launched a missile earlier in the day, blacklisting 15 North Korean individuals and 16 organizations involved in its nuclear and missile development programs.
Speculation is rife that North Korea could engage in further provocative actions, including what would be its seventh nuclear test and first since September 2017.