"In the afternoon on 18 January 2019, … AN SAN 1 (IMO number: 7303803), North Korean-flagged tanker, was lying alongside a vessel of unknown nationality on the high seas (around 410km southern offshore of Shanghai) in the East China Sea … Following a comprehensive assessment, the Government of Japan strongly suspects that they conducted ship-to-ship transfers banned by the United Nations Security Council Resolution", the statement reads.
The ministry added that AN SAN 1 was blacklisted in March.
"In March 2018, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1718 designated AN SAN 1 as a vessel subject to assets freeze and prohibited from port entry … Japan notified the Security Council Committee of this incident and shared information with related countries", the statement says.
The sanctions target North Korea's exports of natural resources, such as coal, imports of weapons, oil, petroleum products and any financial and material support that could contribute to the development of the country's missile or nuclear programs. Tokyo has repeatedly said that it witnessed suspicious ship-to-ship transfers of goods to North Korea that may be coming in violation of the UN sanctions.