Press TV, Tokyo
Japan has approved delisting South Korea as a preferred trade partner and removing it from a ‘whitelist’ of trusted nations.
This will result in a stricter export approval procedure for materials that can be used for military applications. The measure goes into effect on August 28th.
Japan says it has taken these steps as a security measure in response to what it says are concerns over poor export controls by South Korea. Japanese officials add that South Korea was the only Asian nation on the list, and as other countries have no issues with Japan’s normal export procedures, these changes are not expected to adversely affect business on either side.
Most South Koreans reject Japan’s reasoning for the removal and say it is in retaliation for a court ruling last year that requires Japanese firms to compensate forced wartime workers.
However, Japan maintains that all such issues were settled in a 1965 agreement, normalizing relations between the two countries.
South Korea responded by announcing that they are considering countermeasures of their own shortly after Japan made its announcement.
What happens next depends on what South Korea does. If it continues trying to work out the situation with Japan, then we might see a chance for improvement. However if Seoul retaliates, relations are likely to spiral even lower, leaving many to hope that cooler heads will prevail.