The Japanese government has cut South Korea from its whitelist on Aug. 2 in a move that is likely to further weigh on the fraying relations between the two countries.
Tokyo made this decision during a Cabinet meeting that began at 10:00 a.m., according to Japanese media including the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. South Korea has become the first country for Japan to remove from its whitelist, which is basically a list of trusted trade partners.
The decision takes effect in 21 days, after which permission is required for each deal concerning the shipping of sensitive materials that have the possibility of being used militarily from Japan to South Korea.
Japanese exporters will now need individual authorization, rather than fast-track approval, for exports of around 1,120 dual-use items.
The Tokyo government had indicated it would drop Seoul after slapping an export ban on three key materials for South Korean semiconductor and display makers on July 4.
The move comes after the two countries recently failed to reach any kind of consensus on how to solve the argument over handling a previously signed agreement on South Korean workers who had been forced into labor by the Japanese during the war.
Last year, South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that Japanese firms should compensate forced labor victims. Japan has protested the decisions, arguing that all reparation issues stemming from its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea were settled under a 1965 accord that normalized bilateral ties.
Meanwhile, Tokyo said the latest decision to delist South Korea is not equivalent to an export ban, and that it just means the country will now be on equal status as China and Taiwan.
Cheong Wa Dae expressed deep regret over the move, and said it would stay firm against what it called “unfair measures” from Japan.
Industry opinion is mixed over the issue, with critics saying that Seoul has started a war it cannot win. Others, however, are calling out Tokyo and believe this may be the only chance for South Korea to get compensation for Japan’s past war crimes.
The Elec is South Korea's No.1 tech news platform.