Japan has decided to ease some sanctions on North Korea as soon as Pyongyang launches a full investigation into the fate of abductees and other missing Japanese nationals.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and some of his Cabinet ministers met to assess Tuesday's talks between Japanese and North Korean government officials in Beijing.
The ministers were told that an abductions investigation committee North Korea is launching will be powerful enough to probe any organization in the country. It will be granted the authority to do so by Pyongyang's top state organ, the National Defense Commission.
They were also informed that the committee will include a senior official from the secret police.
Prime Minister Abe told reporters that North Korea has formed an unprecedented system involving key decision-making bodies like the National Defense Commission and the secret police.
The ministers therefore agreed to lift some of the sanctions Japan imposed unilaterally on North Korea after the panel begins the investigation. The panel is to be set up on Friday.
The Japanese government will lift three sets of sanctions. They are remittance and travel restrictions, as well as a ban on the entry of North Korean ships into Japanese ports for humanitarian purposes.
But the government will maintain an asset freeze on some North Korean entities and individuals that were imposed in line with UN Security Council resolutions.
A ban on port calls by the North Korean cargo-passenger ship Mangyongbong, as well as a total ban on bilateral trade, will also be kept in place.
Japan says it plans to continue to work closely with its allies, the United States and South Korea.
Jul. 3, 2014 - Updated 06:18 UTC