S.Korea criticizes Japan at WTO over export curbs

South Korea has criticized Japan at a meeting of the World Trade Organization over Tokyo's tighter export requirements for some high-tech materials.

Representatives of Japan and South Korea attended a WTO executive board meeting in Geneva on Tuesday.

Last Thursday, Japan introduced stricter controls on some exports to South Korea of materials used for semiconductors and other high-tech products.

South Korean Ambassador Paik Ji-ah said that only exports to her country are subject to the tighter curbs, and she thinks Japan's move violates WTO rules.

She said Japan stressed the importance of free trade at the G20 summit in Osaka last month, but the export curbs contradict what it was saying at the meeting.

Paik said the Japanese measure is detrimental to South Korea and industries around the world. She urged Japan to scrap the decision.

Japanese Ambassador Junichi Ihara said Japan stepped up the restrictions for security reasons and it is not violating the WTO rules.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon told the country's parliament on Tuesday that Seoul should file a complaint with the WTO.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said officials are exploring ways to minimize the impact of the Japanese restrictions on South Korean firms.

She said the government is preparing to take the issue to the WTO.