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Total ban on exports to NKorea

TOKYO, June 13 – Japan plans to impose a total ban on exports to North Korea as part of its new economic sanctions against Pyongyang following last month\’s nuclear test, news reports said Saturday.

The move comes after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Friday to slap tougher sanctions on North Korea to cripple its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Japan has already imposed a ban on its shipments of luxury goods and weapons-related equipment to North Korea following the communist state\’s missile launches and its first nuclear test.

Tokyo is now considering imposing a ban on all exports to the communist state, following the UN resolution, the Nikkei business daily and the Tokyo Shimbun reported.

Prime Minister Taro Aso\’s cabinet is expected to announce the additional sanctions as early as Tuesday, the Nikkei reported.

In a statement released early Saturday, Aso urged North Korea to "take seriously" the latest UN resolution to punish Pyongyang for last month\’s nuclear test.

"The international community must work together in executing measures based on the resolution," Aso said. "Our country will quickly move into action in order to secure the effectiveness of the resolution."

All 15 members of the UN Security Council endorsed the compromise resolution sponsored by Britain, France, Japan, South Korea and the US to punish Pyongyang for an underground nuclear test on May 25 and its missile launches.

The text, which does not authorise the use of force, calls on UN member states to impose expanded sanctions on North Korea in response to its May 25 underground nuclear test and subsequent missile firings.

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