Abe Taking Hardline Stance against South Korea

Politics

Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been stepping up his criticism of South Korea over the issue of wartime labor ahead of the July 21 election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of parliament.

Japan tightened its controls on exports of semiconductor materials to South Korea on Thursday, arguing that the relationship of trust between the two countries has been significantly undermined by Seoul's handling of the labor issue.

South Korea "violated its international promise. Japan will do what it must do," Abe said on television on Wednesday, referring to the tighter export controls.

The measure was taken as apparent retaliation against Seoul over its failure to address South Korean judicial decisions that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to wartime Korean laborers.

Tokyo takes the position that the wartime labor issue was settled under a 1965 bilateral pact on property and claims.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press