The Cabinet on Friday formally approved ejecting South Korea from the so-called white list of countries entitled to receive preferential treatment in trade, further aggravating an already highly strained bilateral relationship.

In response, South Korean President Moon Jae-in immediately pledged to take "corresponding" countermeasures for what he described as a "reckless" and "selfish" decision by Japan.

South Korean officials revealed that Seoul would expedite its preparations to challenge the Japanese measures at the World Trade Organization, and also review whether to continue exchanging military information with Japan — a key element in the current tripartite security cooperation with the United States.