Japan to stop food aid to North Korea

Japan will not provide food aid to North Korea, and is considering restricting agricultural and fisheries trade between the two sides, Japanese agriculture and fisheries minister said Friday. "I feel sorry to the people who are starving, but we have absolutely no plans to provide food aid to North Korea," Shoichi Nakagawa, Japan's minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said as he protested the North's missile launches this week. Following North Korea's test-firing on Wednesday of seven missiles into the Sea of Japan, the Japanese government barred a North Korean ferry from Japanese ports and imposed a number of other measures that stop short of full-scale economic sanctions against the country. Kyodo News agency said the agriculture minister also suggested a plan to demand Pyongyang pay back as soon as possible the rice aid worth 7 billion yen (US$60.9 million; €47.8 million) Japan provided in 1995 as a loan, Kyodo News agency reported.