South Korea urges Japan to scrap export curbs, pledges help to firms

Seoul Urges Tokyo to Retract Trade Restrictions

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Japan Monday to retract its export restrictions on key materials to the South Korean tech industry and launch honest consultations to resolve the trade issue.

A deepening row between South Korea and Japan has put Samsung's money makers under threat.

Abe was referring to a decision by the Supreme Court here in October past year that South Korean forced labor victims can sue their Japanese employers despite a 1965 treaty that settles all claims in return for lump sum reparations. "Since etching gas is used to produce poison gas or chemical weapons, it may have gone to North Korea".

They also say they may expand the restrictions to cover other exports, including some machine tools and carbon fiber products.

Samsung and other chipmakers are experiencing trouble finding alternative suppliers for these materials, and industry sources said there are only a few days' worth of supply remaining in stock.

Japan maintains that the issue of forced labor was fully settled in 1965 when the two countries restored diplomatic ties, and has denounced the South Korean court ruling as "unthinkable".

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The forced wartime labour issue is the latest flashpoint in a relationship long over-shadowed by South Korean resentment of Japan's 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki held discussions on the "external economic situation" with the heads of top domestic companies over the weekend, Moon's office said in a statement.

South Korea has denounced Japan's moves as a violation of World Trade Organization rules, saying it would take the necessary countermeasures, including filing a complaint.

Japan has expressed hope the controls will prompt South Korea to place the materials under proper control.

Specifically, it plans to remove South Korea from a "white" list of countries with minimum trade restrictions, requiring Japanese exporters to go through a lengthy permit application process each time they want to export restricted items to South Korea, it said.

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