Japan imposes asset freeze on North Korean shipping firm
Published on Aug 15, 2014 1:10 PM
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan on Friday froze the assets of the operator of a North Korean ship seized for smuggling arms, the Foreign Ministry said, just as Tokyo is engaged in talks with Pyongyang to return Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean agents decades ago.
The sanction against Ocean Maritime Management, which operated the ship detained near the Panama Canal a year ago carrying Soviet-era arms, follows similar steps by the United States and UN blacklisting of the North Korean firm in July.
It is not immediately clear how much assets, if any, Ocean Maritime Management holds in Japan, the Finance Ministry said.
North Korea in May agreed to reinvestigate the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by the reclusive state in the 1970s and 1980s. In return, Japan last month eased sanctions on the North, lifting travel curbs and allowing port calls of North Korean ships for humanitarian purposes.
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