A North Korean media outlet Monday slammed Japan's recent restriction on high-tech exports to South Korea, calling the measure a "shameless" act that indicates a lack of remorse for Tokyo's historical wrong-doings against the Korean people.
Japan began to tighten regulations last week on shipments to South Korea of three materials essential to the production of semiconductors and display panels.
South Korea suspects the move may be retaliation for South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans who were forced into labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
In what appears to be North Korea's first reaction to the issue, Tongil Sinbo, a propaganda weekly, said that with the export curbs, Japan is trying to avoid its responsibility on the past actions through a "shameless means."
It also claimed Japan's economic prosperity was based on the exploitation of Korean workers.
"The Korean people and the international community have been consistently urging Japan to sincerely apologize and provide compensation for its past wrong-doings," the weekly reported.
Tokyo claims it imposed the restriction because trust between the two countries has been harmed. Japan has lashed out at the court rulings, claiming that all reparation issues stemming from its colonial rule were settled under a 1965 government-to-government accord that normalized bilateral relations.
The reaction came after Japan has apparently linked its action to the possibility of its chemicals exports to South Korea flowing into the North.
Last Friday Koichi Hagiuda, a close confidant of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, suggested that chemical exports to South Korea could end up in the North, a Japanese broadcaster reported.
Abe also raised suspicions Sunday that South Korea may not abide by sanctions on the North because it did not keep to an agreement with Tokyo over the issue of wartime forced labor.(Yonhap)