South Korea calls for probe of forced labor, an argument with Japan is deepened

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – South Korea called on Friday for an international investigation into what it said were the allegations made by the Japanese officials, who have had to endure some of the high-tech materials are imported from Japan to North Korea in violation of U. N. sanctions.

The appeal is the latest twist in a dispute between the U.S. allies, which could lead to a disruption of the supply of the chips and lcd screens as against South Korea’s tech giants Samsung and SK Hynix, which is the count of Apple Inc. and other smartphone makers as clients.

Japan last week tightened restrictions on the export of three of the materials used in smartphone displays and chips, and subsequent frustration at what it sees as South Korea’s failure to act in response to a statement by one of its courts, and the courts in October in previous years, the order of the japanese Nippon Steel Corp. to compensate former forced laborers.

However, a Japanese ministry of foreign affairs, an official said on Friday, as the curbs on the export of the materials were non-retaliation in the dispute over the compensation to South Koreans forced to work for Japanese companies.

According to the export curbs, and the Japanese officials, who have cited “poor management” of the sensitive items have been exported to South Korea, and the lack of consultation in order to exchange information in the field of exports.

Complicating the case in the Japanese media that a certain amount of one of the materials that are subject to export curbs, hydrofluoric acid, and was delivered to North Korea after being exported to the South. The hydrogen fluoride may be used in chemical weapons.

Kim, Je-geun, South Korea’s deputy director of homeland security, said that South Korea has a fully-enforced U. N. sanctions imposed on North Korea as well as in the international export control regimes on sensitive materials and dual-use technology.

“We express deep regret, that a high-ranking Japanese public officials have recently been making irresponsible comments without presenting a clear basis for them, and to suggest that our government was in violation of the export controls and the non-enforcement of the sanctions,” Kim told a briefing.

“To put an end to unnecessary disputes between them, and in order to determine the factual basis of the Japanese government, it claims to be, we recommend that a panel of U. N. security council experts, or by a competent international organization, to conduct a fair investigation of possible cases of the four major export control violations by South Korea, Japan and russia.”

If an investigation found wrongdoing by the South Korean government should apologize and take corrective measures immediately, Kim said.

Work with officials of the Japan (L) and South Korea are to hold a meeting in Japan, and the recent restrictions on exports of high-tech equipment in South Korea to Tokyo, Japan, on July 12, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS

However, if there is an investigation, it was revealed that South Korea was not at fault, Japan should not only apologize to the government, but it will be able to withdraw its retaliatory measures in export restrictions”, Kim said.


Japanese officials have declined to comment directly on the reports in the media that South Korea had sent a certain amount of one of the materials to North Korea.

The south Korean ministry of industry said on Wednesday it had detected 156 cases of illegal exports of strategic goods and on the March ever since 2015, but will not be involved with North Korea.

The south Korean and Japanese officials were at the meeting in Tokyo on Friday.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said the export curbs were not to be referred to as such in the forced-labor score, even though commerce secretary Hiroshige Seko, in the presentation of the pavement, had been referred to the dispute in question, saying that South Korea is the lack of a sufficient response to resolve the problem was to severely damage the confidence between them.

In Japan, it is also likely to decrease in South Korea as a ‘white list’ of countries with a minimum of restrictions.

The Japanese ministry official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the export restrictions were “necessary measures for the safety and security.

The official said that the government did not link the two issues, and that is “logically” more stringent controls may be removed, such as South Korea, facing Japan’s concern over the export control system.

The relationship between Washington’s two Asian allies, has long been plagued by memories of Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula war, including the issue of “comfort women”, a euphemism for women forced to work in Japanese war is in the military, it is awful.

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The dispute over the war in forced labor, made worse last year after a South Korean court ordered the Japanese firm to compensate the former military workers.

Japan says the matter has been settled by the 1965 treaty and the compensation requirements in South Korea, is a violation of international law.

Many Japanese resent being asked to atone for the war, and the deeds to seven decades ago, while many in South Korea doubt the sincerity of Japan’s previous apology.

Reporting by Linda Sieg, Joyce Lee, Jack Kim; Editing by David Dolan and Robert Birsel

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