Japan has agreed to a consultation with South Korea over Tokyo's enhanced export control measures, trade minister Isshu Sugawara said Friday, effectively locking both countries into the World Trade Organization's painstaking dispute settlement process — an undertaking that could potentially take years.

"We'll make arrangements through diplomatic channels," Sugawara told reporters on Friday, adding that Japan's position, that its moves have been consistent with WTO rules, hasn't changed.

"We'll continue to explain thoroughly," he said.