Japan cites security concerns in curbing exports to SKorea

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has defended its decision to impose export restrictions on South Korea, citing national security concerns and its international duty to keep tabs on sensitive technology transferrable for military uses.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said yesterday that the move was part of “appropriately implementing export controls for national security reasons.”

But Suga, like other officials, also cited a “lack of trust” after exchanges with South Korea at the Group of 20 summit in Osaka did not yield “satisfactory solutions.”

“That, I must say, seriously damaged our relationship of mutual trust,” he said.

The Trade Ministry said on Monday that exports related to manufacturing computer chips, such as fluorinated polyimides used for displays, must apply for approval for each contract beginning tomorrow.

It said it was effectively removing South Korea from a list of countries such as the United States (US) and European nations that face minimum restrictions on
trade.

Up to now, exports have required only a single encompassing approval process.

Now, ministry approvals will be delayed on average by 90 days, a Trade Ministry official in Japan said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

South Korea reacted with consternation and its trade minister said Seoul would file a complaint with the rules-making World Trade Organization (WTO).

Japan’s trade minister, Hiroshige Seko, said yesterday that the new controls do not violate WTO rules.

“These measures are necessary for the proper implementation of export controls for security,” Seko said.