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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.

9:20-9:36 a.m.
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Question-and-Answer Session

Export Controls to the Republic of Korea

Q: I understand that Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have reached an agreement to hold a policy dialog in order to normalize the restrictions on export to the ROK, which have been tightened since 2019. Please tell us your thoughts.
Also, do you have a timeline for the revision? What will Japan emphasize in the dialog? Yesterday, an announcement was made in the ROK on the issue of wartime laborers. Did this have any influence on the resumption of the policy dialog?

A: Your question is about the review of the export control operation. The review of export controls is for systems and measures to appropriately manage the trade of goods or transfer of technology that may be diverted to military use. It is an issue that is completely unrelated to the labor issue.
Yesterday's announcement was based on the judgment that an environment for resuming policy dialogs has been established, as the ROK expressed its intention to suspend the WTO dispute settlement procedures. The exact date and method of holding the policy dialog have yet to be decided, but we plan to hold it as soon as possible in coordination with the ROK side.
As we engage in the policy dialog, we will carefully confirm the effectiveness of export controls, including the ROK side's examination system, and ascertain the ROK side's future stance.

Q: METI announced yesterday that the two governments would proceed with relevant discussions so they can return to the situation before July 2019. I think that each country can make their own judgment on export controls. However, the text of the announcement looks like the discussions will be made on the premise of returning to the previous situation. Please tell us your thoughts on how you will position and proceed with these discussions.

A: As you know, we currently have three products under export control: Hydrogen fluoride, resist, and fluorinated polyimide. Under the current system, individual export licenses are issued for the export of these three items. It is not true that we have decided on a policy for these three items at this point. I will refrain from predicting the results of our future policy dialog. First, we will thoroughly confirm the effectiveness of the examination system on the ROK side and monitor their stance moving forward. I think that is the most important point. We will not proceed based on any presumption at this stage, but we will thoroughly observe the effectiveness of the measures.
Also, this is a review of operations in Japan, which is not subject to discussions other countries. There will be no change in those are operations within Japan. We will conduct the policy dialog and thoroughly examine the effectiveness of export controls including the ROK side's examination system. Japan will then make its own decision.
In any case, we will carefully observe the ROK side's stance moving forward.

Q: Yesterday, the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs said that the Japanese government views the wartime laborers and export controls as completely unrelated issues. Is it correct to understand that presenting a solution to the issue of wartime laborers will not be a factor that should be considered in the policy dialog for relaxing the strict export controls?

A: Yes, they are completely unrelated. We will ascertain the effectiveness of the export controls including the ROK side's examination system

Last updated:2023-03-22