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Japan exported prohibited items to N. Korea: U.N. reports

North Korea 11:00 July 14, 2019

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- Japan exported some strategic items and luxury goods to North Korea over the past several years in violation of international sanctions, U.N. reports have shown.

According to 10 reports that the U.N. panel of experts wrote between 2010 and 2019, there have been multiple cases where restricted items, including sensitive equipment and luxury goods, have been shipped to North Korea from Japan despite U.N. sanctions.

The revelation came at a time when Japan has accused the South of leaking sensitive industrial materials to the North in violation of sanctions, in an attempt to justify the export restrictions it imposed against the South over a row surrounding Japan's wartime forced labor.

According to a 2016 report, commercial radar antennas made by a Japanese firm were acquired and adopted by North Korea for its naval vessels, and some of them were seen during the North's test-firing of an anti-ship missile publicized in February 2015 by the North's Rodong Sinmun.

This image captured from an undated U.N. Security Council report shows Japanese commercial radar antennas that North Korea adopted for its naval vessel. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In a 2015 report, the U.N. panel determined that some prohibited parts manufactured by Japan were used in a North Korean unmanned aerial vehicle after it looked into its wreckage found on the South Korean Island of Baenyeong in the Yellow Sea.

Japan also exported luxury goods to North Korea mostly between 2008 and 2009, which included 18 luxury sedans, such as Mercedes-Benz and Lexus vehicles, 10,000 cigarettes, 12 bottles of sake, 93 pianos and multiple cosmetics, according to another report.

Citing such cases, the panel called for "vigilance" of member states and "close cooperation" among them.

But the reports do not have any clear cases of South Korea's violation of the U.N. sanctions against the North.

Under the U.N. Security Council resolutions, the supply, sale or transfer of all arms-related materials are prohibited. All member states also shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of luxury goods to North Korea.

Last week, Rep. Ha Tae-keung of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party also claimed that Japanese authorities uncovered suspected smuggling of strategic items by its firms to North Korea, presenting data from the Center for Information on Security Trade Control, a nongovernmental organization in Japan that tracks data on export controls.

The revelation came amid an escalating trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Earlier this month, Japan announced export restrictions on South Korea's key materials used in semiconductor memory chips and smartphones in an apparent move against last year's ruling by Seoul's top court ordering Tokyo to compensate Korean forced laborers during World War II.

This photo published in the March 12, 2019, report by the U.N. Security Council committee on North Korea sanctions shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stepping out of a luxury car. Kim has been spotted with luxury vehicles, which are banned from export to the country, made by Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus during his meetings in Pyongyang, as well as in Beijing and Singapore, and the committee said it has requested related information from the automakers. (Yonhap)


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