Major Japanese dailies criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's export restrictions announced on July 1, warning that they breach World Trade Organization rules and, due to the complexities of the supply chain, hurt Japanese business as well.
South Korea's president said on Wednesday that Japan's export curbs on key materials used by South Korean technology firms could be prolonged and his government would sharply boost spending to help reduce their reliance on Japanese suppliers.
Japan has ramped up efforts to curb exports to South Korea for materials vital to the manufacture of high-tech products, particularly in the highly competitive semiconductor sector industry. It also said it had found some sensitive items were shipped to South Korea "with inadequate management by companies".
Meanwhile, Junichi Ihara, Japan's ambassador at the country's permanent mission to global organizations in Geneva, stressed at the meeting that the Japanese measure does not amount to a trade embargo and is fully in accordance with WTO rules, noting that it represents an operational review needed to ensure the appropriate implementation of the country's export regulations, according to informed sources.
Moon also said his country would be forced to take countermeasure if the Japanese trade measures damage South Korean companies.
At Wednesday's meeting, Moon repeated that the government is seeking diplomatic solutions, and urged the Japanese government to respond appropriately. Japan says South Korea is violating an worldwide pledge.
"The measure is not a subject for consultation and we have no intention of withdrawing it either", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference. According to the data, the number of illegal exports of such materials between 2015 and March this year came to 156.
It has long claimed that the South Korea-US alliance has been strained beyond fix under the Moon administration, saying that due to the president's focus on mending ties with North Korea, the government has disregarded bilateral relations.
She went on to say that the US by not intervening in the issue "again revealed the current state of South Korea-US relations".
Seoul's trade ministry said on Thursday that Japan's allegations are groundless.
"Diplomatic, political calculations for filling the gap between the judiciary's ruling and reality are needed at this point", Na said, accusing the ruling party and government of trying to incite anti-Japanese sentiments.
Most Japanese support new export restrictions on materials vital to Korean IT giants in a surge of jingoistic sentiment in the island country amid never-ending historical spats between the two countries.
South Korean courts ruled that Japanese companies must compensate Koreans conscripted to work in factories and mines during the 1910-45 colonization.
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