Samsung boss visits Tokyo amid Japan-Korea trade scuffle escalation

Samsung boss visits Tokyo amid Japan-Korea trade scuffle escalation

"(Minister Kang) expressed concern that Japan's trade restrictions would not only inflict damage to our companies, but could also disrupt global supply chains and cause negative effects not only to US companies but also to the global trade order", the ministry said in a press release.

Tokyo's halt to preferential treatment of the three materials would force exporters to seek permission for each individual shipment to South Korea, taking around 90 days.

Analysts say the Japanese measure won't have a meaningful impact immediately on South Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which both have sufficient supplies of the materials for now, given the slowdown in demand for semiconductors.

Also caught in the fray are Japanese chemical suppliers such as JSR Corp. and Stella Chemifa Corp., which are exploring ways to supply South Korean clients from plants outside Japan.

Samsung's Lee also met with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son last week when the latter visited Seoul to propose a investment plan for artificial intelligence where they reportedly also discussed the trade restrictions.

Tokyo has claimed that Seoul illegally sent the North strategic materials from Japan, like hydrogen fluoride, which can be used in chemical weapons.

South Korean courts ruled that Japanese companies must compensate Koreans conscripted to work in factories and mines during the 1910-45 colonization.

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Japan says the issue of forced labour was fully settled in 1965 when the neighbours restored diplomatic ties.

Hong Nam-ki, Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister of South Korea, said on Monday Japan must revoke the trade restriction as it would negatively affect the global economy.

South Korea has summoned a Japanese Embassy official to protest Abe's suggestion that it could not be trusted to faithfully implement sanctions against North Korea.

Most Japanese support new export restrictions on materials vital to Korean IT giants in a surge of jingoistic sentiment in the island country amid never-ending historical spats between the two countries.

South Korea is seeking USA help in a bitter diplomatic row with fellow American ally Japan over its moves to tighten controls on high-tech exports.

Seoul's trade ministry said on Thursday that Japan's allegations are groundless.

POTENTIAL FOR RESOLVING THE ISSUES: Bridging the rift between the two countries appears to be a challenge. Thousands of South Koreans have signed petitions posted on the presidential office's website that call for boycotting Japanese products and travel to Japan. That is especially true of Abe and his ultra-conservative backers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who have been for years trying to whitewash Japan's embarrassing wartime past and are now busy campaigning for a July 21 election for the Upper House of Parliament.

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