Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Wednesday denounced Japan's decision to restrict exports of semiconductor and display materials to South Korea as a retaliatory measure that is unreasonable and contrary to common sense.
On Monday, Japan announced that it will tighten regulations on exports to South Korea of key chemicals used in semiconductor and smartphone production, in apparent retaliation against South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate wartime forced labor victims.
"I think this is obviously a retaliatory measure that is unreasonable and contrary to common sense," Kang told a parliamentary meeting. "The foreign ministry ... will continue to demand that (Japan) review our proposal in an in-depth manner and retract the retaliatory measure."
She was referring to South Korea's proposal that companies of the two countries create a joint fund to compensate forced labor victims. Seoul made the offer in an effort to resolve the row; Japan immediately rejected it.
Tokyo has protested the court decisions to order Japanese firms to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor. It insists that all reparation issues were settled under a 1965 state-to-state accord that normalized bilateral relations after Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula.
Kang rebutted criticism that the government has failed to deal with the situation properly, stressing that related ministries had been putting their heads together and examining various scenarios.
She noted that Tokyo chose not to inform Seoul of anything prior to the announcement.
"We never got any notification (from Tokyo) as to what and when will be announced," Kang said, adding that the government respects the judicial rulings and will deal with the matter in that respect. (Yonhap)