Japan is considering easing export controls to South Korea, potentially returning the country to a list of countries entitled to receive preferential treatment in trade, as South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol looks to warm chilly relations, a Japanese media report said Saturday.

Any move to ease the measures would come amid ongoing talks between the two neighbors over a new plan to resolve the fraught issue of wartime labor, but also as concerns mount over the increasingly tense regional security environment, the Sankei newspaper reported Saturday, citing Japanese government sources.

Tokyo slapped Seoul with the measures in 2019, claiming that removing the preferential export status was strictly because of a loss of trust and national security concerns, while South Korea argued that Japan’s motive was a de facto retaliation for 2018 South Korean Supreme Court rulings that ordered two Japanese companies to dole out compensation for wartime forced labor.