The Japanese government is considering imposing export controls on some goods bound for South Korea ‘in an apparent effort to raise pressure on Seoul to help resolve a bilateral dispute over compensation for wartime labour.’ So reports Japan’s Kyodo news agency, which describes the plan as a response ‘to what Tokyo views as Seoul’s failure to address the months-long dispute properly and prevent it from hurting mutual trust between the two neighbours.’ It has been reported that among those items being considered for control are ‘electronic parts and related materials that can be diverted to military use’.
Last year, South Korean courts ordered a number of Japanese companies to compensate individuals and their families forced into slave labour between 1910 and 1945. Japan says the issue has already been fully settled under an agreement made in 1965. Attempts to resolve the dispute have reached an impasse.
The Japanese government has already announced that, effective 4 July, Japanese exporters must file applications for the export of fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and resistors, which Kyodo describes as essential for the manufacturer of semiconductors and displays for ‘smart phones and TVs’.
In addition, it is reported, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is ‘seeking to remove South Korea from its “white list” of countries that are considered as posing no security risk and can receive preferential treatment in export procedures.’
South Korea trade minister Sung Yun-mo said that the government intends to file a complaint with the World Trade Organisation if Japan imposes the ban.