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Japan Announces Removal of S. Korea from 'Whitelist' of Trading Nations

#Hot Issues of the Week l 2019-08-11


ⓒKBS News

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced on Wednesday that Japanese exports to South Korea will not qualify for fast-track export clearance as of August 28.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet approved the measure in a meeting last Friday, greatly expanding the scope of Korea-bound export restrictions Tokyo first introduced last month.

The moves are widely believed to be retaliation against South Korean top court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor.

South Korea is the only country in Asia on Japan's 27-member "whitelist" of nations that enjoy streamlined export procedures, and will be the first country to be removed from it.

Inclusion on the whitelist means certain goods that could have military applications can be freely exported from Japan with a single permit obtained every three years.

Along with delisting South Korea, Japan introduced a new four-group classification system for its trade partners, with Group A representing whitelist member states.

Group B, which South Korea will soon likely belong to, consists of nations that adhere to certain multilateral export control regimes that Tokyo approves of.

Group C is made up of nations that do not meet the requirements for the two aforementioned groups, while Group D countries, including North Korea and Iraq, are considered by Tokyo to have the lowest level of credibility as a trading partner.

Once South Korea is demoted on August 28, Japanese exporters of goods that may have military applications will have to obtain case-by-case approval for every peninsula-bound shipment, potentially delaying or disrupting delivery of over one-thousand export items.

Although Tokyo says the classification overhaul was meant to enhance transparency and understanding of its export management system, there's speculation it may be an attempt to conceal the political objectives behind removing South Korea from the preferential trade list.

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