Japan OKs 1st export to S. Korea under new trade curbs

Japan OKs 1st export to S. Korea under new trade curbs
Japanese official daily gazette, mentioning a decision by the Cabinet last Friday to drop South Korea from a list of countries granted preferred trade status becoming official Wednesday, and will take effect on Aug. 28, is seen in Tokyo Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Japan's government spokesman says his country's downgrading of South Korea's trade status is not intended as retaliation for disputes over court rulings ordering Japanese companies pay compensation for their treatment of Korean laborers during World War II. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has granted the first permit for South Korea-bound shipment of chemicals for use in high-tech materials under Tokyo’s new export requirement that has increased tensions with Seoul.

Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko made a rare announcement of such approval Thursday, saying that officials determined the transaction raised no security concerns. The move is apparently meant to calm South Korean anger over Tokyo’s export curbs and show there is no trade ban in place.

Japan imposed stricter controls on three key materials for South Korea’s semiconductor industry. The rules also downgrade South Korea’s trade status.

South Korea says Japan is using trade to retaliate against its court decisions ordering Japanese companies to compensate Korean wartime forced laborers.

Japan says all compensation issues had already been settled.