South Korea-Japan row rages on, this time over export details
Nikkei -- Jul 12
Seoul has pointed to its interceptions of illegally exported sensitive materials to discredit Japan's claim that South Korea lacks a proper monitoring regime, prompting an immediate rebuttal from Tokyo, as bilateral relations appear to plumb another low.

Tokyo's export curbs on semiconductor materials, implemented last week, cited a breach of trust by South Korea and "improper" incidents regarding materials it shipped to the South.

Japan's move is widely seen as retaliation for South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate those forced to work for them in World War II.

In response, Seoul brought up its record on crackdowns to insist that Japan's argument has no basis.

There were 156 cases from 2015 to this March of sensitive materials illegally shipped from South Korea to Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and elsewhere, according to South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Fourteen cases were caught in 2015 and 22 in 2016. The number more than doubled to 48 in 2017, the year Moon took office.

Etching gas, one of materials targeted by Japan's export curbs, was illegally shipped to Vietnam in December 2017 and the United Arab Emirates this January. In addition to semiconductors, etching gas can also be used in the production of nuclear and chemical weapons, including sarin gas.

But Japan remains unconvinced. "Just because South Korea caught some cases doesn't mean it's doing enough," a Japanese government source said. Tokyo continues to question whether Seoul has implemented appropriate screening and other measures to prevent illegal shipments.

South Korea argues that the shipments were made by a handful of domestic companies and do not involve Japan-made etching gas. High-grade etching gas imported from Japan cannot be used for sarin production, which involves lower-grade materials, it says.

Seoul views the recent surge in busts as a sign of a successful crackdown, backed by increased training of police and maritime authorities, and rejects Tokyo's charge of lax controls.

News source: Nikkei
Aug 18
Japan will tighten control over foreign investments in domestic companies involved in semiconductors and other high-tech industries by focusing on the purchase of shares that carry voting rights, Nikkei learned Saturday. (Nikkei)
Aug 10
LCD maker Japan Display has escaped immediate bankruptcy by lining up 80 billion yen ($758 million) in aid from Chinese investors, but the company remains dogged by uncertainty over the long-delayed rescue. (Nikkei)
Aug 10
Japan's economy grew at a faster-than-expected clip in the second quarter, official data showed on Friday, helped by celebrations to usher in a new imperial era. (Japan Today)
Aug 10
Earnings season in Japan is highlighting a recent plunge in inbound spending and its impact on drugstore chains, cosmetics makers and department stores previously favored by big-spending Chinese tourists. (Nikkei)
Aug 09
To much of the world Japan is the home of video games. (newsonjapan.com)
Aug 08
Japan Post Bank appears set to place a limit on over-the-counter international cash transfers to better address money laundering. (NHK)
Aug 07
A government panel decided Tuesday to end Saturday delivery for standard mail to deal with a labor shortage at Japan Post Co and a drop in demand due to increased use of the internet. (Japan Today)
Aug 07
Convenience store operator FamilyMart Co. on Monday shut one of its stores in Shibuya Ward following the emergence of a video showing a rat infestation, the company said. (tokyoreporter.com)
Aug 06
Japanese beverage producer Suntory Holdings will spend about 6 billion yen ($56 million) to expand a domestic whisky-aging facility, the group's latest effort to keep up with rising international demand for the spirit. (Nikkei)
Aug 04
The southern Japanese prefecture of Kagoshima desperately wants to lose the distinction of paying the lowest minimum wage among Japan's 47 prefectures, after falling short of its closest rival by just 1 yen (1 cent) last time. (Nikkei)