According to the Japan Trade Compliance blog, the owners of a small trading company have been arrested for exporting household items to North Korea without a license. The likely punishment? Violations of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law face jail time for as much as give years and/or a fine of five million yen, or both.
While it may sound somewhat excessive, the stakes are quite high in those parts of the world. North Korea firing and testing rockets, along with its advanced nuclear program, calls for a robust policy of economic and political isolation that includes sanctions. Engaging the North Koreans is a waste of time as they have demonstrated that they are going to build nuclear bombs no matter what the civilized world has to say. Curbing all unlicensed commerce with North Korea makes sense for the Japanese – even it if it just clothes.
Just ninety miles from our shores, state sponsor of terrorism Cuba may not be building a nuclear bomb, but it causes problems in other ways to the United States and the region. Yet everyday about eleven (11) charter flights depart from Miami International Airport chock full of travelers with bags of clothes, food, computers, and many other consumer staples.
The Castro brothers and their henchmen and women of the Communist Party know what they need to do to secure concessions from the United States for an easing of the economic sanctions – the few that remain and are enforced (in reality, we’ve never had a full embargo on the regime). We’re we to shut down family reunification flights and all other junkets, the power holders would be forced to change or step aside. That will never happen, at least not in today’s DC. If official Washington were to have its way, it would be Cuba Libres for every American that wanted to travel to Cuba.
It is not Wassenauer-worthy, but it is good to see the Japanese standing firm on principle even if it is just clothes and household goods. If it were up to some of us that have either directly suffered communist repression or have family members who did, then people would understand why we say that no trade with the Cuban government is the answer for regime change. No trade or travel at all – even most humanitarian-based exchanges. It was a tool that worked to ease out the apartheid government of South Africa – a tool that can work in Cuba if folks really wanted it to.
And for those Americans that want to travel the Caribbean, consider Puerto Rico – its a territory of the United States, they need the tourist travel, and its a great place to island hop throughout the region.