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Japan firms see limited impact from ROK action

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Many Japanese companies have said that South Korea’s removal of Japan from its list of countries for preferential treatment in export controls is likely to have a only limited impact on their operations.

Still, they are keeping a close watch on the situation, as the details of the South Korean trade action, including which items will be affected, have not been revealed yet. There are also concerns about a possible further escalation of the boycott of Japanese products in South Korea.

The South Korean measure, slated to take effect next month, will increase the red tape for exports to Japan of “strategic goods” that can be used in weapons of mass destruction and lengthen the time for related screenings from the current five days to 15 days.

According to South Korean media reports, items to be affected by the measure are expected to include those related to semiconductors and telecommunications equipment. Those items from South Korea do not appear indispensable for Japanese electronics, automotive and other manufacturers.

The South Korean action “won’t have any significant impact on us,” an official of a major electronics maker said.

“We’re not so worried, because we have procurement sources other than South Korean manufacturers,” an official at a semiconductor maker said.

However, it remains uncertain how large the indirect effect of the South Korean trade measure will be.

An official at a major Japanese automaker voiced concern about the possibility of the boycott of Japanese products in South Korea continuing for an extended period of time.

Each of three major Japanese automakers — Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. — suffered a year-on-year drop of over 30 percent in vehicle sales in South Korea in July, when Japan announced tighter export controls on semiconductor materials bound for South Korea.

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