Japan gives 1st approval under new export controls

Japan has approved the shipment of a hi-tech material to South Korea for the first time since enforcing stricter export controls.

Trade minister Hiroshige Seko says the decision proves the government is acting in good faith.

Seko said on Thursday, "We don't usually disclose our decisions . But we made an exception this time because the South Korean government is unfairly criticizing us by claiming we have implemented an export ban."

Last month, Japan imposed stricter screenings for exports of 3 materials used in semiconductors and other products. Government officials justified the decision on security grounds.
They said the screening process is designed to ensure the materials won't be used for military purposes.

Japan initially said the process would take about 90 days. But the first decision took just weeks.

Seoul claims the export controls are retaliation for court rulings on wartime labor cases.

Seko said there's no point holding talks with South Korean officials until they change their position.

He said, "They announced their version of what we explained to them last month, and it wasn't accurate. We cannot hold bureau chief-level meetings until they correct the record."

Japan has also decided to remove South Korea from a list of countries entitled to simplified export procedures. That change will take effect on August 28.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon renewed his country's call for Tokyo to scrap its stricter controls..

Lee said, "Japan's economic attack on South Korea is unjustifiable for a country that leads the world. It's also self-contradictory for a country that has benefited from free trade. We will step up diplomatic efforts to bring the situation to its original state."

Lee added the government will communicate with businesses to respond to their concerns and sense of uncertainty.