Japan eased several sanctions against North Korea on 3 July 2014. The decision was taken in response to North Korea reopening the investigation to probe decades-old kidnappings of Japanese nationals.
North Korea in this regard has set up a Special Investigative Committee which includes about 30 member officials who will look into all the abducted Japanese in North Korea.
Japan eased some of its unilateral sanctions though it will continue to abide by resolutions imposed by the UN Security Council. The sanctions lifted includes some travel restrictions on North Koreans, allowing port calls by North Korean ships for humanitarian purposes and restrictions on cash sent to the North.
Sanctions lifted are:
• Travel Restrictions
Japan allowed North Korean nationals to enter, but the request to enter will be screened case-by-case. A ban on individuals subject to the U.N sanctions remains.
• Port Calls
North Korean-registered vessels will be able to enter Japanese ports but only for humanitarian purposes.
Port calls are limited to pickups of food, medicine and clothing and other articles for personal use only. Shipment of large quantities is not permitted. North Korean crewmembers will not be permitted ashore without prior approval.
• Money Transfers
North Korea’s groups and companies remittances do not have to be reported to the Japan government if not exceeding 30 million yen (300000 US dollars), the same as to other countries.
Under the sanctions, reporting any remittance exceeding 3 million yen (30000 US dollars) was compulsory.
Those visiting North Korea can now carry cash up to 1 million yen (10000 US dollars) without having to report it to the Japanese government, up from 100,000 yen (1000 US dollars).
Overall trade ban on North Korea remains in place.
Freezing of assets on individuals and entities involved in missile programs, under U.N. Security Council resolutions, stay in place.
North Korean operatives abducted at least 17 Japanese people in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 2002, North Korea admitted to the kidnappings for the first time but allowed only five abducted victims to return home to Japan. Japan issued advisory to their nationals not to go to North Korea and imposed some unilateral sanctions.