North Korea has expressed anger over new sanctions announced by Japan over its recent rocket launch and says in response it has halted an investigation into the fate of Japanese citizens it kidnapped decades ago.

Japan had eased some earlier sanctions on North Korea after it promised in 2014 to reinvestigate the kidnappings, which are a highly sensitive issue in Japan. The North has repeatedly delayed the results of the probe.

Japan announced new sanctions Wednesday that include expanded restrictions on travel between the two countries and a complete ban on visits by North Korean ships to Japan.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency slammed that decision on Friday and said the committee formed to investigate the abductions has been dissolved.