Exports to S.Korea fall for 9 straight months

Japan's exports to South Korea fell in July for the ninth straight month.

Japanese Finance Ministry officials say exports dropped 6.9 percent from the same month last year to 436.3 billion yen, or about 4.1 billion dollars. There was a 1.6 percent decline in total exports for July.

Shipments to South Korea of equipment used to manufacture semiconductors plunged 41.6 percent year on year. Power generating machines fell 47.4 percent, and auto parts dropped 14.8 percent.

In early July, Japan tightened export controls for three high-tech materials to South Korea. But the officials reported an overall increase of exports of chemicals, including the specified items.

In recent months, issues including trade and wartime labor have strained Japan-South Korea ties.

Some in the South are calling for a boycott of Japanese products. The statistics show Japan's food sales to the country were down 1.9 percent, but shipments of automobiles jumped 26.4 percent.

The officials say they have yet to analyze why exports rose or fell for each item. They also say just what impact the strained ties have had on trade is still not clear.