SEOUL – South Korea said Tuesday it will reopen its complaint at the World Trade Organization over Japan's tightened export controls, saying Tokyo has not shown willingness to settle the ongoing bilateral trade dispute.
South Korea's Trade, Industry, and Energy Ministry had given its Japanese counterpart until the end of May to respond to its calls for withdrawing the export controls.
In July last year, Japan tightened controls on shipments to South Korea of three key materials that are critical for the latter's chip and display-panel industries. Japan also removed its neighbor from a whitelist of trusted trade partners, citing inadequacies in its handling of sensitive exports.
South Korea took the dispute to the WTO, arguing the measures were retaliation for court decisions ordering compensation for Koreans that were ruled to have been forced to work in Japanese factories during the 1910-1945 period of colonial rule.
Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the countries had been continuing discussions on the matter, and that "South Korea's unilateral decision to make such an announcement is regrettable."
Speaking at a regular news conference, Motegi reiterated South Korea would need to make improvements to its own export controls for Japan to ease its measures.