Japan extended its unilateral sanctions imposed on North Korea for two more years Friday as the North's provocative behavior is not showing any signs of letting up.
The extension was endorsed at a cabinet meeting held earlier in the day. The existing sanctions were set to expire next Thursday.
The decision will allow Tokyo mostly to keep a ban on trade with the North and prevent the entry of North Korean ships into Japanese ports.
The ban on port entry has been in place since 2006, when the North carried out its first nuclear test. The trade ban has also been enforced since 2009.
The decision is based on anxiety that the North continues to conduct ballistic missile tests in defiance of multiple resolutions and global condemnation. It reflects the lack of progress made in resolving the issue of Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korea.
In the latest provocation, the North fired a ballistic missile into waters off its east coast Wednesday.
On Thursday, the European Union also unveiled a set of additional sanctions against the North in line with the recent United States' move aimed at punishing Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile provocations. (Yonhap)