N.Korea Threatens Japan Over Sanctions
Report: North Korea Threatens 'Strong Countermeasures' if Japan Imposes Sanctions


TOKYO Oct 12, 2006 (AP)— A North Korea official threatened "strong countermeasures" against Japan if it goes ahead with new sanctions against the communist regime, Kyodo News agency reported from Pyongyang on Thursday.

Song Il Ho, North Korea's ambassador in charge of diplomatic normalization talks with Japan, was quoted as saying in an interview Wednesday with Kyodo News that Pyongyang is still trying to assess what new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has in mind for Tokyo's relations with Pyongyang.

Japan has taken steps to punish North Korea for its claimed nuclear test Monday, prohibiting its ships from entering Japanese ports and imposing a total ban on imports from the impoverished nation.

North Korean nationals are also prohibited from entering Japan, with limited exceptions, the Japanese Cabinet Office said in a statement released after an emergency security meeting late Wednesday.

A total ban on imports and ships could be disastrous for North Korea, whose produce such as clams and mushrooms earns precious foreign currency on the Japanese market. Ferries also serve as a major conduit of communication between the two countries, which have no diplomatic relations.