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Japan has eased controls on exports of key chip manufacturing materials to South Korea – the first relaxation of strict measures introduced last month in an escalating trade war.
Industry minister Hiroshige Seko said today that Japan had granted its first approval for the export of material used in three high-tech components for making chips and displays. The restrictions imposed in July over a row about Japan's wartime conduct. Essentially, tensions escalated earlier this month after Korea was removed from a special "fast track" white list that oiled exports from Japan to 27 lucky countries. It is the only country ever to have been taken off the list.
Seko - News - Conference - Japan - Decision
Seko told a news conference that Japan made the decision after strict examination, but refrained from commenting on details of the exports, according to a report.
South Korea, crucially, is where two of the world's largest memory suppliers, Samsung and SK Hynix, are headquartered. Invoking the ways it could counterattack, its president, Moon Jae-in, last week said that Seoul would never again be beaten by its neighbour.
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