The South Korean government has angrily denied claims by Japan that its is turning a blind eye to transfers of sensitive technology to North Korea, in defiance of United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.
Sung Yun-mo, the South Korean industry minister, told a press conference on Tuesday that the government has “found no evidence” that banned technology or materials are being shared with North Korea and accused Japan of “making groundless allegations”.
The real reason for Japan imposing new export controls on exports of chemicals to South Korea, Seoul claims, is in retaliation for rulings by a number of domestic courts that Japanese companies should pay compensation to people who served as forced labourers during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, has indicated that he ordered restrictions on exports of chemicals critical to South Korea’s high-tech manufacturing industry out of concern that banned technology is being shared with North Korea.
The restrictions went into force on Thursday and have effectively halted shipments of fluorinated polyimides, used in flat screens for televisions and mobile phones, as well as photoresist and hydrogen fluoride, used in making semiconductors.