Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan to remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, a move likely to escalate tensions fuelled by a dispute over compensation for wartime forced labourers, The Hindu reported.
“The decision was approved by the cabinet and would take effect from August 28, the trade control is not a countermeasure and was done from the standpoint of Japan’s national security, said Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko.
Japan has previously cited what it says is South Korea’s insufficient export controls as the main impetus for the move. But Tokyo has also highlighted what it says is an erosion of trust after South Korean court rulings ordered Japanese firms compensate wartime forced labourers. Japan says that issue of compensation was settled by a 1965 treaty that normalised ties between Tokyo and Seoul.
It is the first time that Japan is removing a country from white list. Currently, 27 countries including Germany, Britain and the United States removed South Korea.
The measure could require South Korean exporters to take extra administrative procedures to obtain export licenses, potentially slowing down exports of a wide range of goods that could be used to produce weapons, Reuters reported.