TOKYO, Japan — The United States is counting on Japan to adopt tougher measures to strengthen international efforts to curb financial support of North Korea and Iran — both of which have nuclear programs.

“We look to Japan as a leader of the global nonproliferation regime and a close ally of the United States to play a strong role in this effort,” Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control, said at a Wednesday press conference at the U.S. Embassy here.

Japan on Tuesday announced implementation of the latest United Nations sanctions against Iran and said it was considering additional measures against the Islamic republic. Those sanctions include barring business dealings with Iranian military industrial and shipping firms.

Japanese sanctions against Iran that go beyond those required by the UN would fall in line with recent actions taken by the United States and the European Union, said Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes.

Glaser and Einhorn met with Japanese officials on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the country’s role in international efforts to suppress the financial sources that fund nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

Japan imports “a lot” of oil from Iran, for example “but the steps we’re asking Japan to take … would not adversely affect the economy of Japan,” Einhorn said.

The Treasury Department on Tuesday released the names of 21 companies — including one in Japan — that it said were fronts for the Iranian government to help fund its nuclear weapons program.

While Japanese banks are not broadly prohibited from financing Iranian oil deals, Glaser warned of the “tremendous risks” associated with Iranian banks.

“I’m quite confident that Japan will take measures to protect the Japanese system from Iranian financial abuse” in line with similar U.S. and EU measures, he added.

Despite Japan having among the world’s toughest restrictions against North Korea, the country could address issues such as remittances sent to North Korea by Koreans living in Japan and how to strengthen efforts to interdict arms flowing to and from North Korea, Einhorn said.

Still, it is up to individual countries to craft their own sanctions that would feed into a larger international effort to thwart Tehran and Pyongyang, he said.

The support of China — which has close ties to both Iran and North Korea — is critical to such efforts.

“If China wants to be a responsible stakeholder in the international community, part of that responsibility involves ensuring that other countries abide by their commitments,” Einhorn said in Tokyo.

What’s more, China should not be “back-filling” for Iran and North Korea as countries cut off ties, he said. “It shouldn’t be stepping in and taking over deals where responsible countries have stepped backed for the sake of nonproliferation and security,” he said.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now