“Our government is forming a response system demanding Japan to withdraw its unfair export limit measures with a sense of urgency,” Moon said in Seoul, calling the current situation an “unprecedented emergency.”
Japan has said it made the move to ensure proper security and questioned its trust of South Korea
after courts there last year ruled that Japanese companies needed to pay compensation to Koreans conscripted to work at mines and factories during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. Tokyo said all claims were settled by a 1965 treaty and that it didn’t see the court decisions as valid.
The dispute has moved into the economic arena what the two see as proper contrition for Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula. Past fights have mostly kept industries on both sides out of the fray but the worry now is that tensions between the major trading partners and U.S. allies could spiral out of control.
Moon on Wednesday proposed an “active support” from the government’s end for companies to diversify importers and expand local production, adding that the export curbs would be reflected in an upcoming extra budget bill proposal within the National Assembly.
While the stricter checks that took effect Thursday don’t amount to a ban, exporters would be required to obtain a separate license each time they want to sell the materials to South Korea, causing delays. Japan is also considering removing South Korea
from a list of trusted export markets, a move that could affect a broader swath of products.
is taking its case over the expert measures to the World Trade Organization. Its courts have ruled since late 2018 said the victims of forced labor weren’t compensated for their emotional pain and suffering.
The new restrictions could hurt the profits of South Korean firms that rely on Japanese suppliers, such as Samsung Electronics
and LG Display Co. Japan has 90% of the market for chips used in smartphone displays, as well as the etching gas used to make chips. Unless the dispute gets settled, South Korean firms will have to find alternative supplies from Taiwan and China, while Japanese manufacturers would need to divert their production.