JCP opposes extension of sanctions against North Korea

   Japan’s House of Representatives on November 2 approved the cabinet decision to extend sanctions against North Korea for another six months. The sanctions had been imposed in October 2006 as a measure in response to North Korea’s nuclear test explosion.

   The Japanese Communist Party voted against the extension.

   JCP Chair Shii Kazuo explained the JCP’s position at a news conference following the vote as follows:

   (1) Today, in the National Land, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting, the Committee on Economy and Industry meeting, and the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives, the Japanese Communist Party expressed its opposition to approving the cabinet decision to extend the Japanese sanctions against North Korea, banning North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports and halting all imports from North Korea. I want to explain our basic position on these measures and the North Korean question in general.

   (2) The JCP supported these Japanese measures against North Korea when they were imposed in October last year and when they were extended in April this year. We supported these actions because following North Korea’s nuclear test explosion that marked a grave development, we recognized that Japan had reason to invoke its own sanctions aimed at pressing North Korea to return to talks to find a diplomatic resolution of the issue regarding its nuclear programs.

   Later, however, a major positive development took place regarding the question of North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea has begun to implement the initial steps agreed to at the Six-Party Talks in February. At the most recent Six-Party Talks held in October, they agreed to implement measures for the next stage to disable its nuclear facilities and list all its nuclear programs. With this new situation emerging concerning the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program, Japan no longer has a reason to continue sanctions against North Korea. The JCP has taken into account these developments in expressing its present position concerning the question of North Korea.

   (3) In my questioning at the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives on October 4, I welcomed the agreement reached in October at the Six-Party Talks as an important step toward making the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free. I stated, “The task now is for the Japanese government to take a lead in the effort to achieve a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons through increasing cooperation within this framework in order to achieve Northeast Asian peace and stability which would include Japan’s peace and security.” I also pointed out that in this respect “it is regrettable that the Japanese government is seen by many countries as lacking the will to work on the nuclear issue even though North Korea’s nuclear program is one of the most important issues for Japan.” I also said, “I believe that such a weakness must be overcome decidedly.”

   The Japanese government in October last year adopted the two sanctions measures in response to North Korea’s nuclear test explosion. I must point out that at a time when the situation concerning nuclear weapons is improving, a continued imposition of these sanctions could make it difficult for the Japanese government to play an active role in helping to resolve the nuclear issue.

   (4) In my questioning in the House of Representatives Plenary Session, I referred to the relations between the abduction issue and the nuclear issue as follows: “It is important to maintain the spirit of the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration in seeking a comprehensive resolution of all issues, including the nuclear programs, abductions of Japanese nationals, and the settlement of accounts of historical questions. In the process of pursuing a comprehensive resolution, it may be the case that one particular issue would be dealt with ahead of others. A breakthrough in one issue could promote the resolution of the other issues instead of obstructing them. In the ongoing process, if a reasonable solution is found on the issue of nuclear weapons, it could provide new conditions for an early resolution of the abduction issue. ”It is important to maintain this position.

   The Japanese government should be called upon to play an active role in resolving the nuclear issue in line with the agreement reached at the Six-Party Talks. This is also important for an early resolution of the abduction issue. We believe it is important to take into account the actual development of the situation in considering the continued imposition of sanctions.

- Akahata, November 3, 2007

The Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party
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