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Japan to lift part of sanctions against N.Korea

Japan is poised to ease sanctions against North Korea on Friday. The move follows Pyongyang's formulation of a special panel to investigate the fate of abductees and other missing Japanese nationals.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and relevant ministers met on Thursday to discuss the results of intergovernmental talks between Japan and North Korea earlier this week.

The ministers determined that North Korea's special committee's investigation will be effective as its top state organ, the National Defense Commission, will allow the panel to probe any organization in the country.

They decided to lift part of the sanctions unilaterally imposed by Japan on North Korea.

Japan will remove restrictions on travel between the 2 nations and an obligation to report remittances to North Korea. It will also drop a ban on the entry of North Korean ships into Japanese ports for humanitarian purposes.

Abe told reporters that North Korea has formed an unprecedented system involving key decision-making bodies.

Some Japanese government officials say the system shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's desire to move forward.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told NHK on Thursday that North Korea promised to pass on the first preliminary report of the inquiry sometime between late summer and early autumn.

Suga said the briefing will be the first crucial step in the investigation.

To prepare for the first report, Japan will set up communication channels with North Korea, including a direct telephone and fax line.

Tokyo intends to use them to monitor the investigation as Pyongyang has been insincere in past probes.

Jul. 3, 2014 - Updated 21:32 UTC