Japanese, RoK senior trade officials to discuss tightened export controls: Tokyo

Saturday, 2019-11-30 10:10:47
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Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama said Friday (November 29) that senior trade officials from Tokyo and Seoul will meet to discuss Japan's tightened export controls, with the meeting slated to take place next month.

The proposed meeting set to be held during the third week in December in Tokyo, will mark the first such director general-level meeting between both sides in more than three years and the first since Japan slapped tighter controls on tech-related exports to the Republic off Korea in July.

"I am confident that through continuous conversation, things will begin to head in a good direction," Kajiyama told a press briefing on the matter, adding that the talks would provide an opportunity to "check the current situation, rather than find a solution."

Kajiyama said that preparations for the talks will be held the following week in Vienna, Austria, with working-level officials having held dialogue on the matter on November 28.

The plans for talks between senior trade officials from both sides comes as Tokyo and Seoul have been at odds since October last year when RoK’s top court ordered a Japanese firm to pay compensation for the forced labor of RoKoreans during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Japan maintains the matter was settled by a 1965 pact, which saw Tokyo pay Seoul some US$500 million under the banner of "economic cooperation."

The dispute, however, continued and spread to trade and security issues, with both sides tightening export restrictions and removing each other from their preferential lists of trade partners.

The spat also spilled over into security areas, with Seoul cancelling the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), before deciding to extend the pact with Japan just hours before the deal was due to expire at midnight last Friday.

GSOMIA is a bilateral military intelligence-sharing accord signed between both countries in November 2016.

The pact has enabled the two neighbors to share military information and has helped both sides to counter potential regional threats.