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Japan won't retract curbs on tech exports

China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-07-10 07:24

TOKYO - Japan said on Tuesday that it has no plans to backtrack on plans to impose stricter controls on exports of some technology-related products to South Korea.

Amid pressure from South Korea for the measure to be withdrawn and calls for dialogue, Japan's top government spokesman said there was no need for discussion.

"The measure is not something that needs to be discussed with South Korea and we are not planning to withdraw it," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

He was responding to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's request for a diplomatic solution thorough "sincere" bilateral discussions, urging Tokyo to withdraw what he described as a politically motivated measure.

Moon also said his country would be forced to take countermeasure if the Japanese trade restrictions damage South Korean companies. Japan's trade curbs have raised concern about disrupted production at South Korean companies and the threat it poses to global supply chains, he said.

Suga maintained, however, that the Japanese government is prepared to respond to questions from South Korea's export control authorities, who he said are seeking to "check facts".

South Korea has condemned the move by Japan to tighten the export controls of materials used by electronics makers for semiconductors and display panels for smartphones and TVs, namely fluorinated polyimide, resist and hydrogen fluoride, maintaining that it runs contrary to the spirit of fair trade.

Vital link

The move could hit tech giants, such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which supply chips to the likes of Apple and Huawei, and underscores Japan's sway over a vital link of the global supply chain.

South Korea sees Japan's trade measures as retaliation for recent South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate South Korean plaintiffs for forced labor during World War II.

Amid possible tit-for-tat measures by Seoul as reported by Japanese media, South Korea may also take its concerns over Japan's move to the World Trade Organization.

Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko on Tuesday, meanwhile, suggested that Japan ending preferential treatment to South Korea should not be an issue for the WTO.

"We ended preferential treatment given to South Korea and now treat it the same as other countries. Is that a problem from the standpoint of the WTO?" Seko said.

He also said that the measure was a necessary domestic procedure and nonnegotiable.

"The measure is a necessary domestic procedure in Japan for the purpose of properly controlling exports. It's not up for negotiation, and won't be withdrawn," Seko said.

He said, however, that meetings would be held this week with South Korea to explain the measure in detail, in response to a request from Seoul, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday.

Xinhua - Agencies

(China Daily Global 07/10/2019 page7)

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