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(From The Yomiuri Shimbun/Daily Yomiuri)
INSIGHTS INTO THE WORLD / Coping with a belligerent N. Korea
Masakazu Yamazaki Special to The Yomiuri Shimbun
When North Korea declared its underground nuclear test a success this month, the Japanese government and the international community were unprecedentedly swift in their reactions.
The government wasted no time in placing a total ban on port calls by North Korean vessels, in addition to barring imports of any items from North Korea and prohibiting North Korean nationals from entering Japan.
The U.N. Security Council also addressed the situation promptly, adopting a package of stringent sanctions against Pyongyang based on Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. The sanctions meted out were thorough. Among them are not only wide-ranging economic sanctions but also provisions for searching vessels traveling to and from North Korea for weapons of mass destruction or related material.
The initiative Japan took in this crisis is noteworthy. The government's announcement of its own sanctions against Pyongyang ahead of any other country has served to prod the international community to act in the face of North Korea's nuclear threat.
That Prime Minister Shinzo Abe happened to be visiting China and South Korea immediately before the test and reaffirmed friendly ties with the two countries was conducive to finding common ground between Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul for tackling the situation.
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