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Friday, July 4, 2014, 12:02

Japan Cabinet okays lifting DPRK sanctions selectively

By Associated Press

 Japan Cabinet okays lifting DPRK sanctions selectively

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga answers a question during a press conference in Tokyo, Friday, July 4, 2014. (Photo / AP)

TOKYO - Japan took a tentative step toward improved relations with the Democratic People's Reoublic of Korea (DPRK) on Friday by agreeing to lift some of its sanctions in response to the North's decision to re-open a probe into the fate of at least a dozen Japanese believed to have been abducted by DPRK agents decades ago.

The Cabinet gave formal approval to a decision that was announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the previous day.

Abe said on Thursday that he was satisfied that a DPRK investigation committee has the mandate to carry out a serious investigation into the abductions, though previous deals with the DPRK have fallen through. Japan will continue to abide by UN sanctions on DPRK over its nuclear and missile programs.

"We have determined that an unprecedented framework has been established, where an organization that can make decisions at a national level ... will be at the forefront of the investigations,'' Abe said. "However, this is only a start. We are determined to do everything we can, with a renewed effort, toward a comprehensive resolution.''

The announcement followed talks between DPRK and Japanese negotiators in Beijing earlier this week.

"Both sides agreed to take necessary measures in the days ahead, while getting in touch with each other through a diplomatic channel,'' said a report by the Korean Central News Agency.

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