The government will extend its sanctions against North Korea for one year, mainly because the reclusive country plans to launch a missile later this month in the guise of a "satellite" launch, government officials said Tuesday.
The sanctions were to expire on April 13. If North Korea launches the missile despite international calls not to, the government will strengthen the sanctions as the launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution, the officials said.
At its meeting Tuesday morning, the Cabinet decided to extend a total trade embargo against Pyongyang and the prohibition on entries of all North Korea-registered ships, among other steps.
North Korea recently announced it will launch a satellite, which is regarded as a cover for a test of a long-range ballistic missile.
Pyongyang has also failed to reopen investigations into the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents. It previously reported that some of the abductees were dead. Japan has repeatedly asked the country to reopen investigations into the matter.
The government has been studying lowering the 3 million yen ceiling on money that can be transmitted to North Korea without reporting to authorities and the 100,000 yen cap on cash that can be taken directly to the country without the government's permission, the officials said.
In a statement Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura strongly urged Pyongyang to exercise restraint and not launch a missile.