The government number two, Nobutaka Machimura, met Saturday with families of Japanese abducted by the communist state and suggested sanctions would be prolonged for another six months, Jiji Press and the Yomiuri Shimbun said.
The sanctions-which ban all imports from North Korea including money-making produce such as clams, crabs and high-end matsutake mushrooms-are set to expire on April 13.
'It would be a different story if some progress were made before they expire,' Machimura was quoted by Jiji as saying in the closed-door meeting. 'Otherwise the government will make a proper judgement.'
Japan imposed the sweeping sanctions, which also include a ban on all port calls by North Korean ships, after the communist state tested an atom bomb in October 2006.
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