Japan Begins Talks to End Strict Export Controls on South Korea

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry announced Monday that it will begin bilateral talks to ease its tightened export controls for semiconductor materials and other exports to South Korea. The two countries will soon hold an export control policy dialogue after South Korea suspended its appeal to the World Trade Organization over the controls.

In its announcement, the trade ministry said that it will “promptly hold consultations” on pending issues between Japan and South Korea regarding export controls in order to return to the situation prior to the introduction of the strict controls.

 In July 2019, the Japanese government imposed tightened export controls on South Korea for three items, including hydrogen fluoride, which is used to clean semiconductors. The Japanese side described the measures as a security response, but some viewed the move as retaliation for South Korea’s handling of the issue of former wartime requisitioned workers.

 South Korea had filed a case with the WTO in September 2019, claiming that the export control measures for the three items were unfair.