TOKYO – Japan froze the assets of 19 companies on Friday to step up pressure on North Korea to return Japanese citizens that it abducted in the 1970s and 1980s and to halt its nuclear weapons and missile development.
The companies, which have already been sanctioned by the United States, deal in finance, coal and minerals, transport including shipping and the sending of North Korean workers overseas.
A Foreign Ministry official said the unilateral move shows Japan’s commitment to sanctions ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting in New York later Friday to discuss the North Korea situation.
Japan has now frozen the assets of 103 companies and organizations and 108 individuals under either its own sanctions or Security Council resolutions. Of those, 56 groups and 62 individuals were unilateral.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan will continue to put pressure on North Korea to seek a resolution to both the abductee and nuclear and missile issues.
North Korean agents abducted Japanese citizens to train spies to pass as Japanese.
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