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Japan rejects South Korea’s call to abandon export restrictions

Japan's Trade Minister claims checks on chip materials are up for discussion

Japanese authorities on Tuesday rejected the concept of ditching limitations on exports of semiconductor materials to South Korea, stating checks are a question of national security and are not open to talks.

“The recent move has been made to enhance the export control regime’s application,” Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said during a frequent news conference. “It is not subject to negotiations[ with South Korea] and can not be withdrawn.” Seko also repeated the government’s stance that the strategy did not violate the laws of the World Trade Organization and rejected South Korea’s proposal that it could bring Japan before the international trade commission.

He said Japan was prepared to clarify the current strategy to South Korea, recognising that Seoul had requested for more data.

Japan implemented new regulations on Thursday forcing semiconductor materials exporters to obtain public permission before shipping to South Korea, a step that could interrupt chip manufacturing there.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the senior public spokesperson, also said Japan would stay strong after South Korean President Moon Jae-in requested on Monday that the limits be removed and that a genuine debate be conducted between the two nations.

Suga, too, argued that the policy is not subject to negotiations with other governments and can not simply be withdrawn.

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