National flags of South Korea and Japan are displayed during a meeting in Tokyo. File photo/Reuters
Japan hit back at South Korea on Tuesday for removing Tokyo’s fast-track trade status, with the industry minister saying Seoul had failed to explain its reason for the move — the latest in an escalating trade row.
South Korea on Monday signalled plans to remove Japan from a list of countries with fast-track trade status from September, citing problems with export control measures.
Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said Seoul had failed to show how Japan had purportedly fallen short of international export control measures.
“From the start, it is totally unclear under what basis South Korea can say that Japan’s export control measures don’t meet the export control regime,” Seko said on Twitter.
The tighter trade regulations, including potential lengthy permit application processes, will apply to South Korean exports to Japan.
Japan announced earlier this month that it was removing South Korea from its own “white list” of countries that have enjoyed minimum trade restrictions, citing an erosion of trust.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since a ruling by South Korea’s Supreme Court last year that Japanese companies should compensate South Koreans who were conscripted as forced labourers during World War Two.
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South Korea warned Japan on Thursday that it would be forced to review security cooperation between the two key US allies if Tokyo pushes ahead with plans to remove Seoul from its “white list”
Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a plan to remove South Korea from a list of countries that enjoy minimum export controls, a move likely to escalate tensions fuelled by a dispute over compensation
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