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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 31 - August 6  > JCP urges Abe gov’t to refrain from expanding export restrictions against South Korea
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2019 July 31 - August 6 [POLITICS]

JCP urges Abe gov’t to refrain from expanding export restrictions against South Korea

August 1, 2019

The Japanese Communist Party on July 31 submitted to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo an urgent request demanding that the government refrain from removing South Korea from its “white list” of countries that receive preferential treatment in trade. The submission was made in response to news reports that a relevant government ordinance will be revised by the Cabinet approval within two days to implement this measure.

JCP Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji handed to his Liberal Democratic Party counterpart Moriyama Hiroshi the party’s request to PM Abe. The two shared the recognition that relations between the two nations are facing a serious situation. Moriyama said that he will convey the JCP request to PM Abe without delay.

Amid worsening relations with South Korea in regard to trade disputes and the “forced laborers” issue, the Abe government intends to exclude South Korea from the “white list” in addition to tightening restrictions on the export of semiconductor materials.

Later in the same day, JCP Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference in the Diet building expressed his strong concern that the additional measure will have a serious impact on relations between Japan and South Korea. He stressed that it is necessary for the government to desist from amending the government ordinance regarding the white list and instead make efforts to sit at the negotiating table with its South Korean counterpart and resolve the current situation through diplomacy. Shii said that the party made the request along these lines.

Shii pointed out that in a TV debate between political party leaders in July, PM Abe made a remark hinting that the government has imposed export controls on South Korea as a measure to deal with the issue of wartime forced laborers in Japan. Shii criticized PM Abe for using bilateral trade as a means to solving political disputes with South Korea in violation of the principle of the separation of economics and politics.

Shii also pointed out that tightened export controls have already impacted on civic society exchanges and the business of Japanese exporting companies. He warned that the expansion of export restrictions will result in a vicious cycle of Japan-South Korea relations in which adverse influences, such as inflamed public sentiment in both countries and deterioration in bilateral economic ties, will intensify. He again emphasized the importance of working for a diplomatic solution in a cool-headed manner.

Past related article:
> Japan will restrict exports to S. Korea as retaliatory step over the issue of Korean forced laborers [July 11, 2019]
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