Japan accepts talks with South Korea on WTO arbitration

TOKYO — Japan has announced it will accept South Korea’s request for joint talks leading to arbitration by the World Trade Organization after Seoul filed a complaint with the international body over Tokyo’s tightening of export controls.

Trade minister Isshu Sugawara, however, said Friday that Japan’s controls on exports to South Korea follow WTO rules and that Tokyo stands by its position.

South Korea initiated a complaint with the WTO last week after Japan tightened controls on key chemicals used in semiconductors and displays and downgraded South Korea’s preferential trade status.

The two countries also held talks in Tokyo on Friday on a range of contentious issues including forced labour by Koreans during World War II and the cancellation of a military intelligence pact, but failed to make progress.

The Associated Press