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Regarding Today’s Announcement by the ROK Government

August 28, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hereby notes the facts in relation to the announcement by the government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) concerning Japan’s partial revision of export control regulations which entered into force today.

1. In response to the statement that “the Japanese government pressed ahead with the measure that will have negative impact on not only the ROK-Japan economic cooperation but also the regional prosperity and the global free trade order.”

The Cabinet ordinance partially revising Japan’s export controls which went into force today simply eliminates preferential treatment previously granted solely to the ROK among all Asian nations and regions, and will not negatively impact free trade or global supply chains.

The conditions for granting bulk license to Japanese companies for ROK-bound exports have been made more stringent, but it is still possible to obtain special general bulk export licenses and other bulk export licenses for exporting controlled items.

While exports to the ROK will now also be subject to catch-all control, exporters will still be able to export freely to the ROK providing that there are no concerns about the exported materials being used to build conventional weapons or weapons of mass destruction and means of delivery.

2. In response to the statement that “The Japanese measure is not part of a review of export control implementation but a clear retaliatory trade measure against the ROK Supreme Court’s ruling on the victims of forced labor during Japan’s occupation of Korea as well as a significant challenge that shakes the foundation of the long-standing friendly and cooperative relations between the ROK and Japan.”

The Cabinet ordinance that went into effect today simply rectifies the operation of Japan’s domestic export controls in response to circumstances such as limitations of the ROK’s export control system and the operation thereof, and is not intended to impact Japan-ROK relations. It is certainly not “retaliatory trade measure” as claimed by the ROK.

3. In response to the statement that “the Japanese government’s refusal to accept, for unconvincing reasons, the ROK government’s repeated offers for dialogue between the export control authorities is in no way conducive to the resolution of the issue.”

METI carefully explained its views on those aspects of the ROK’s export control system which prompted Japan’s update at our July meeting with the ROK Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and we have since continued to communicate at the director level.

METI remains even now fully prepared to resume export control policy dialogue to the extent that certain conditions are met, as we have clearly and repeatedly communicated to the ROK authorities.

4. In response to the statement that it was Japan that first linked security and export control measures [in relation to termination of the GSOMIA].

The review of Japan’s export control operation is a domestic measure designed to ensure proper management of trade in goods and technologies which could potentially be put to military use, which is on an entirely different level to an intergovernmental agreement on the protection of confidential military information. We totally reject the ROK Government’s linkage of the two matters.

Division in Charge

Trade Control Policy Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau