Japan greenlights first S.Korea export but with a warning

Japan greenlights first S.Korea export but with a warning”

South Korea's environment ministry announced on Thursday that it's planning tighter radiation checks on coal ash imported from Japan.

South Korea's defense ministry denied the report, saying Esper only said he would expect cooperation from the global community to ensure freedom of navigation in the strait.

"If improper use of exports are found beyond three high-tech materials, we will implement thorough steps to prevent recurrence including expanding application examination", Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said.

The motive for Japan's approval of the shipment remains unclear.

South Korea on Thursday held off a plan to drop Japan from the so-called "white list" of countries with fast-track export status, two officials at South Korea's trade ministry said, reports Trend referring to Reuters.

With Esper scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on Friday, there is speculation that he might discuss the defense cost-sharing deal with Jeong.

Seko stood by Tokyo's position and warned of a possibility of adding more items in addition to the three chemicals if export control officials suspect Seoul of inappropriate shipments.

In his opening remarks of the meeting with Esper, South Korean Defence Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said Japan's export restrictions against South Korea are "causing adverse effects on South Korea-Japan relations and security cooperation among South Korea, the US and Japan". But they have pointed to an erosion of trust after South Korean court rulings previous year ordered Japanese firms to compensate wartime forced labourers. That covers a broad range of items, including those applicable to weapons production and machine tools. The largest mobile OLED display company of the world is counted amongst the Korean firms which have the possibility of suffering under the hands of the most recent Japan's curbs on crucial material required for the manufacturing of displays and semiconductors.

"This situation benefits neither Japan nor South Korea", Masashi Oka, senior executive vice president at Nikon, told a recent briefing.

On July 4, Japan tightened the rules on awarding official permits, meaning that screening applications could take up to 90 days.

Tokyo Ohka Kogyo makes photoresists and Stella Chemifa produces hydrogen fluoride, both materials affected by the export curbs.

South Korean chipmakers are hitting a dead-end in their quest to find alternatives for key Japanese materials that have been hit with export restrictions, raising the prospect of major disruption to their operations in the next few months.

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