TOKYO - Japan took a tentative step toward improved relations with North Korea on Friday by agreeing to lift some of its sanctions, as North Korea announced the details of a new probe into the fate of at least a dozen Japanese believed to have been abducted by North Korean agents decades ago.
The Cabinet approved easing sanctions in three areas. It lifted a ban on North Koreans visiting Japan, allowing them on a case-by-case basis, and made it easier for Japanese and ethnic Koreans in Japan to travel to North Korea. It also raised the reporting limit for money taken or sent to North Korea. Thirdly, it approved port calls by North Korean-flagged ships for humanitarian purposes, limited to the delivery of food, medicine and clothes in small amounts. (AP)