S.Korean president urges Japan to retract export curbs, launch consultation

South Korean vice chairman Jay Y. Lee of Samsung Electronics is traveling to Japan on Sunday. File

In the first five months, the number of Koreans who traveled to Japan declined 4.7 percent year-over-year to 3.25 million from the same period last year, the Korea Tourism Organization said in a statement.

The export curbs highlight how Japan, the world's third-largest economy, continues to hold sway over a vital corner of the global supply chain.

The row between the US allies flared last October when South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that Japan's Nippon Steel (5401.T) must compensate South Koreans for forced labor during World War Two.

South Korea and Japan are close economic partners and key allies of the United States, though they have always been in conflict over territory and other historical disputes.

Analysts say the measure won't have a meaningful impact immediately on South Korean companies like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix Inc., which both have sufficient supplies of the materials for now, given the slowdown in demand for semiconductors.

Amid intensifying fears over Japan's retaliatory moves against Korea, leaders of major South Korean conglomerates were invited to a private meeting with top policymakers on Sunday to discuss countermeasures, according to reports.

Greek elections: New Democracy 'on course for majority'
DiEM25 of ex-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is on 3.2 percent, while the new right-wing Greek Solution party is on 3 percent. Voting ends at 7.00 pm (1600 GMT), with the first official projections expected about two hours after voting ends.

Moon said he would prioritize development of home-grown high-tech equipment and materials and South Korea would improve the trade deficit with Japan in the long term.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the chairman of South Korea's Financial Services Commission was asked if the dispute could affect investments and loans by Japanese institutions.

Japan also plans another round of export curbs for South Korea that could target a broader range of items applicable to weapons production, including machine tools, the government says.

Fluorine polyimide is used to make flexible organic light-emitting diode displays, and photoresist is a thin layer used to transfer a circuit pattern to a semiconductor substrate.

The neighbors share a bitter history dating to the Japanese colonization of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, including forced use of labor by Japanese companies and the use of comfort women, a euphemism for girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in its wartime brothels.

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