Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, was present at a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. The Japanese government declared on the same day that it will enforce sanctions against three organizations and four individuals for their support of North Korea's missile and nuclear development program. (Kyodo News via AP)Image: ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government declared on Friday that it will enforce sanctions against three organizations and four individuals for their support of North Korea's missile and nuclear development program.
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Hirokazu Matsuno, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated on Friday that the sanctions, in collaboration with the United States and South Korea, are a reaction to North Korea's attempted launch of a spy satellite on Aug. 24 and its firing of two missiles on Wednesday. These actions are in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that prohibit any North Korean launches using ballistic missile technologies.
The extra sanctions, which were approved during the Cabinet meeting on Friday, freeze the assets of three hacker groups based in North Korea that are associated with cyberattacks — Andariel, BlueNoroff, and Korea Expo Joint Venture — as well as four individuals, three of whom are based in China, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
On Thursday, the United States imposed sanctions on two individuals: a North Korean and a Russian linked to a Moscow-based company accused of supporting North's ballistic missile program.
Japan, the United States, and South Korea have been intensifying their strategic tripartite cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region to collectively address their mutual concern about the escalating threats from North Korea and China.
Matsuno stated that the Japanese government strongly urges the North to take tangible actions in response to Tokyo's proposal to resolve the issues of abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea during the 1970s and 1980s, in addition to its nuclear and missile programs.
He mentioned that the abductees' family members are aging and that Japan is seeking discussions between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as soon as feasible.
North Korea has been unsuccessful in launching a spy satellite twice in recent months. The country’s National Aerospace Development Administration announced that it would attempt for the third time in October.