Senior trade officials from Japan and South Korea will meet on Dec. 16 to discuss Tokyo's tightened controls on tech-related exports to its Asian neighbor, industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said Thursday.
The talks, to be held in Tokyo, will be the first of their kind since Japan implemented the measures in July, prompting a further deterioration in bilateral ties already strained over the issue of compensation for wartime labor. The last round of such talks on trade control was held in 2016.
Japan has placed stricter regulations on exporting some materials used to manufacture semiconductors and display panels that are crucial for South Korea's dominant tech industry.
It also removed South Korea from a "white list" of trusted trade partners, claiming Seoul is not doing enough to ensure goods that can be diverted for military use are not smuggled into other countries.
"I hope that through dialogue, we can step up cooperation on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Kajiyama told reporters.
The two countries agreed Wednesday in a preparatory meeting in Vienna on the date for the director general-level talks. Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry had cited a lack of policy dialogue as one of the reasons for its loss of trust in South Korea.
South Korea, meanwhile, has demanded that the tighter export controls be lifted, calling them retaliation for the country's top court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate people who claimed they were victims of forced labor during the 1910-1945 period when the Korean Peninsula was under Japan's colonial rule.
Seoul had filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Tokyo's tightening of export controls and threatened to terminate a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact, but last month said it is putting both steps on hold while the trade talks with Japan continue.
Source: The Mainichi