‘Unprecedented emergency’: S. Korean president warns of prolonged export row with Japan

Samsung boss visits Tokyo amid Japan-Korea trade scuffle escalation

The decision has been slammed for being a retaliatory action against a South Korean court ruling that Japanese companies should compensate forced World War II laborers.

Japanese officials say such materials can be exported only to trustworthy trading partners, hinting at security risks and illegal transfers of sensitive materials to North Korea, without citing specific cases.

Japan pushed back on Tuesday against calls from South Korea to scrap restrictions on high-tech exports to its Asian neighbor, as a diplomatic row over forced wartime labor escalates between the two key USA allies.

"[Our] government is doing its best to resolve the issue diplomatically".

South Korea has denied the claims, saying that an inspection of companies that process and export chemicals imported from Japan found no sign of illegal transactions that allowed them to reach North Korea or any other country affected by United Nations sanctions. Lee may call on the Japanese businesses to lean on their government to relax the export restrictions. These items are used for producing smartphone displays and semiconductors.

Japanese officials have rejected any link between the export controls and historical disputes.

Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, has indicated that he ordered restrictions on exports of chemicals critical to South Korea's high-tech manufacturing industry out of concern that banned technology is being shared with North Korea.

As part of its new trade restrictions, Japan's trade ministry had said individual applications will be needed for permission to export to South Korea three materials: fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and resists.

The Supreme Court here ruled last October that Korean forced labor victims can sue their Japanese employers despite a 1965 treaty that Japan says settled all claims in return for lump sum reparations.

In response, the South Korean government argued most of the cases were carried out by small companies that did not know the goods were categorized as strategic or subject to export controls.

Local paper DongA Ilbo reported last Friday that Mr Hong and Mr Kim had planned to meet top executives such as Chung Eui-sun of Hyundai Motor Group, SK's Chey Tae-won and LG's Koo Kwang-mo.

The Japanese side countered by saying that the measure was implemented in accordance with WTO rules.

Meanwhile, Junichi Ihara, Japan's ambassador at the country's permanent mission to worldwide organizations in Geneva, stressed at the meeting that the Japanese measure does not amount to a trade embargo and is fully in accordance with WTO rules, noting that it represents an operational review needed to ensure the appropriate implementation of the country's export regulations, according to informed sources.

"We applied the simplified procedures before to Korea, but now we changed, and just normal procedures will be applied - are applied - to [South] Korea".

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