Friday, Japan moved in to scale-up sanctions against North Korea and enforce stricter monitoring of money transfers to the Stalinist nation following Pyongyang's controversial rocket launch Sunday that has threatened peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, reports say.
The new measures, which fell short of a total ban on exports to the impoverished nation, were announced after a meeting of the Japanese cabinet.
The measure is aimed at getting a clearer grasp of fund flows to North Korea, Takeo Kawamura, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters.
The Japanese announcement of sanctions against the North came following a deadlock over a Security Council resolution imposing punitive sanction on the North. It also came as North Korean state media, continuing to bask in what it has described as an historic satellite launch, showed footage of leader Kim Jong-il attending the opening of the country's parliament.
Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke last August and the footage was his first major public appearance in many months.
Negotiations at the U.N. have been deadlocked for several days, with veto-wielding council members China and Russia favoring restraint and favoring a milder, non-binding statement to be read by the council president.
Sunday, North Korea fired a long-range rocket over Japanese territory that the U.S., Japan and South Korea believe was a test-launch of a long-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska, and not a satellite launch as Pyongyang insists.
Japan, along with the U.S. and South Korea asserted North Korea's launch violated a 2006 council resolution banning the firing of missiles but China and Russia begged to differ.
The U.S. meanwhile has indicated it might be willing to accept a non-binding statement rather than a resolution, which it fears might take too long if one can be agreed on at all. However, Japan has insisted on getting a fully-fledged resolution, fearing failure to do so would result in a domestic backlash.
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