On 31 March 2015, Japan's NHK new agency announced that the Abe administration had approved an extension to its unilateral sanctions against North Korea following failed talks with the regime in Pyongyang over the fate of missing Japanese citizens. The sanctions have been extended by two further years. They were initially imposed over missile tests carried out by Pyongyang in 2006, and were due to expire on 13 April 2015. The sanctions include a trade embargo and a ban on North Korean vessels from entering Japanese ports, except for humanitarian purposes.

Following the commencement of discussions between the two nations in May 2014, Japan had eased its sanctions, including travel restrictions between Japan and North Korea, in July 2014 once Pyongyang agreed to re-examine the abduction cases.