North Korea suspends probe into Japanese abductees in response to sanctions

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is ending investigations into Japanese abductees in the country in response to Japan’s expanded sanctions against it following its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch, state media reported Friday.

The special investigation committee probing the whereabouts of Japanese nationals abducted by DPRK agents decades ago “will be dissolved from Feb. 12, 2016,” said a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The decision was made apparently in response to Japan’s new sanctions against the DPRK adopted Wednesday following its fourth nuclear test and rocket launch.

The new sanctions include banning the re-entry from the DPRK of Japan-based foreign nuclear or missile engineers, banning ships from third countries that have visited ports in the DPRK, and banning remittances of over 100,000 yen (about 870 U.S. dollars) to the DPRK in principle, except for humanitarian cases.

These sanctions had been partially lifted under the Stockholm agreement signed between Japan and the DPRK in mid-2014, but Japan has “reneged on its commitments made in the agreement” and “made a frontal challenge to the DPRK,” the statement said.

-More at Xinhua

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