South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in pledges action against Japan’s 'unfair' trade step

President Moon Jae-in will chair an unscheduled Cabinet meeting later on Aug 2 to discuss the issue, according to Mr Moon's office.
President Moon Jae-in will chair an unscheduled Cabinet meeting later on Aug 2 to discuss the issue, according to Mr Moon's office.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - President Moon Jae-in vowed on Friday (Aug 2)  to take stern action against Japan’s decision to strip South Korea of its fast track export status, calling it a reckless and unfair retaliatory action by Tokyo.

“We won’t be defeated by Japan again,” Mr Moon told a Cabinet meeting in a rare live broadcast, but without giving details of possible countermeasures, however.  

He also criticised Japan as a “selfish nuisance” for disrupting the global supply chain.

South Korea's presidential Blue House spokeswoman, Ms Ko Min-jung, expressed deep regret over Japan's move.

South Korea will become the first country to be removed from Japan’s “white list” of fast-track export destinations when the decision, approved by Japan’s Cabinet on Friday, goes into effect on Aug 28.

The measure could require Japanese exporters to South Korea to take extra administrative procedures to obtain export permits, potentially slowing down exports of a wide range of goods that could be used to produce weapons.  

Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told a briefing after the Cabinet meeting that the decision was taken for national security reasons, and was not intended to harm bilateral relations.  

But South Korean officials held a different perspective, especially as Japan last tightened curbs on exports to
South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels, threatening the global supply of chips.