Japan eases some sanctions on North Korea

By Chico Harlan, July 3, 2014

SEOUL — Japan decided Thursday to lift or ease several sanctions against North Korea, a bid to improve relations that comes as Pyongyang reinvestigates decades-old kidnappings of Japanese nationals.

The sanctions that Japan rolled back were unilateral, and Tokyo will continue to abide by resolutions imposed by the U.N. Security Council. Still, Japan’s move is delicate, coming at a time when the United States and its allies have tried to hold a firm line on North Korea, saying relations will improve only if the North curbs or dismantles its illicit nuclear weapons program.

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