S. Korea files complaint with WTO against Japan's export restrictions
South Korea on Wednesday filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Japan over its restrictions on exports of three materials vital to make memory chips and display panels in South Korea.
Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee told a press briefing that the South Korean government decided to file the suit with the WTO over Japan's moves in order to protect national interests and prevent the repeated abuse of trade for political purposes.
Yoo said Japan's export curbs were a discriminatory act directly targeting South Korea and were politically motivated against the South Korean top court's rulings on wartime forced labor, just as the Japanese figures in the cabinet member level repeatedly mentioned.
The WTO filing came after Japan tightened control on July 4 over its exports to South Korea of three materials crucial for the production of memory chips and display panels.
Japan's export restrictions came in an apparent response to the South Korean top court's rulings ordering some of Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, among others, to pay reparations for South Korean victims who were forced into hard labor without pay by Imperial Japan. The Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945.
Japan claimed that all the colonial-era issues were settled via the 1965 treaty, which normalized diplomatic relations between Seoul and Tokyo, but South Korea said the treaty did not involve individuals' right to compensation.