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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 10 - 16  > Japan will restrict exports to S. Korea as retaliatory step over the issue of Korean forced laborers
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2019 July 10 - 16 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Japan will restrict exports to S. Korea as retaliatory step over the issue of Korean forced laborers

July 11, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on July 1 announced that Japan will restrict exports of three items, including hydrogen fluoride, to South Korea virtually as a retaliatory move in the contention arising from the issue of wartime Korean forced laborers in Japan.

As these goods can potentially be diverted to weapons, they are already subject to international export controls. Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has repeatedly made remarks alluding to the possibility of their transfer to North Korea.

Japan's stricter export restrictions on the three chemicals, one of which is fluorinated polyimide used in smartphone display production, are de facto retaliation for South Korea's handling of the issue of wartime Korean forced laborers in Japan though the Japanese government denies it.

METI Minister Seko Hiroshige at a press conference on July 2 said, "It's not a retaliatory measure, but at the same time said that the issue of wartime Korean laborers who were conscripted to work for Japan "has seriously undermined our relationship of trust with South Korea".

PM Abe, on a televised debate program aired on July 7, said that South Korea is a country that does not abide by country-to-country agreements, specifying the 1965 Japan-South Korea agreement on the settlement of problems concerning claims. He furthermore said, "It is, therefore, natural for Japan to doubt if South Korea properly manages its trade." By saying this, he blatantly exhibited his hostility toward South Korea on TV.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo criticized the Abe government for taking advantage of the trade issue for the resolution of a political conflict, and stated that this will only damage Japan's relations with South Korea.

Past related article:
> Japanese and S. Korean lawyers jointly hold symposium on wartime forced labor issue [April 21, 2019]
> Japan should repair relations with South Korea based on remorse over its colonial rule [January 3, 2019]
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