Following a Cabinet meeting Friday, Japan has formalized its decision to relax sanctions against North Korea.
The sanctions were unilaterally imposed on North Korea by Japan
and include travel bans to and from Pyongyang, restrictions on how much money can be sent or brought into the communist state and port calls by North Korean ships to Japan.
This, after North Korea formed a special investigative team to determine the fate of several Japanese citizens abducted by the North decades ago.
The committee, to be led by North Korea's most powerful National Defense Commission, will get to work starting Friday.
Tokyo may further ease sanctions on Pyongyang after the first preliminary report on the investigation is released sometime between late summer and early fall.
In 2002, North Korea admitted to abducting 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s to help train their spies, but Japan believes even more people were kidnapped.
Those observing the two neighbors' recent overtures are wary of the growing intimacy between them.
In a statement Thursday, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated that Tokyo maintain transparency in its dealings with North Korea so the denuclearization efforts of Japan and its allies -- namely South Korea and the U.S. -- remain intact.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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