On April 5, 2011, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ("METI") announced on its press release that Japan continue the ban on all export and import with North Korea, which have been imposed since 2006 with one year term extension each year. This measure is substantially trade embargo, including prohibition of export, import, brokering, and financial transaction for all items, based on Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law ("FEFTL").
Outline of the measure
1. Prohibition of export of all items to North Korea by imposing an approval by METI. (Implying the denial of all approval) - FEFTL Article 48 (3)
2. Prohibition of import of all items from North Korea or originating items of North Korea by imposing an approval by METI (implying the denial of all approval) - FEFTL Article 52.
3. Prohibition of brokering between third country and North Korea (including buy/sell, lease and donation of all items) - FEFTL Article 25 (6).
4. Prohibition of payment for importing goods from North Korea or North Korea origin item (without approval by METI) - FEFTL Article 16 (5).
However, an exemption of above restriction may apply to humanitarian purpose aid. This notice is valid from April 14, 2011 until April 13, 2012 for one year.
Tips for legal professional:
It is important to know the difference between "permission" and "approval" of export license under FEFTL. Here is quick comparison below.
- Permission （許可） is under FEFTL Article 48 (1) which is used for trade control of national security, international peace, or trade of dual-use controlled items, such as NSG, AG, MTCR, and Wassenaar Arrangement.
- Approval （承認） is under FEFTL Article 48 (3) which is used for equilibrium of international balance of trade or for achievement of sound development of foreign trade, such as for CITES Washington Convention or Hazardous wastes under Basel Convention.
The difference of this license type leads to the different window of license application to METI, different procedure, different penalty and sanction in case of violation. As for penalty under FEFTL, the violation "without permission" is much severer than "without approval". For example, the sanction of export prohibition to offender is not more than 3 years for "without permission" of FEETL Article 48 (1), but for offender of "without approval" of Article 48 (3), it is not more than 1 year.
In other words, if a guy sends WA dual-use items illegally to North Korea, it is "without permission".
If a guy sends Gucci handbag to North Korea illegally, it is "without approval" and the penalty is less severe than dual-use items export.