The recent war of words between Japan and South Korea on the issues related to trade and compensating war victims, is rooted in the domestic politics behind the spat.

Experts believe, that the forthcoming elections in both countries are essential in the trade related differences.

While Japan will elect 124 of the 245 members of the House of Councilors (upper house) on July 21, South Korea’s 300-member National Assembly will go to polls next year in April.

The decision [to restrict export of vital equipment to South Korea] by ruling party in Japan comes at a time when [South] Korea is insisting on compensation to wartime victims.

Last week, Japan slowed down export of three core materials used in semiconductors, smartphones and TV’s to South Korea. South Korea imports almost 90% of this equipment from Japan.

There is a wave of protectionism across the world, see for instance U.S.-China trade war. So, Japan and South Korea are no exception to this new devastating trend.

Despite both these countries being allies of the USA in the region, the trade war will mutually destroy them. It’s now expected for Washington to broker a deal between the two.

The Japanese move is seen as a retaliation by Tokyo against a South Korean court order that last October directed Japanese firms, to pay compensation to wartime forced labor victims.

Japan has refused to abide by the court order, saying the issue of compensation was closed, when the two countries signed a pact in 1965.

Japan occupied Korean peninsula in 1910 and held it till 1945. Tokyo was accused of exploiting Korean women in military camps, besides forcing men to do hard labor, resulting in the split up of North- and South Korea.

The surviving victims and kin of those deceased had sued Japanese firms working in South Korea, demanding compensation. A Korean court ruled in their favor and asked Japan to pay compensation.

There are bad memories and feelings among Koreans against Japan. That is why we often see tensions between the countries, which inversely help the ruling parties in elections.

The LDP runs a coalition government under Abe with Komeito party. The coalition is eyeing at least 53 seats to secure a majority in the house.

Last Tuesday, Seoul also complained to World Trade Organization (WTO) that Japan has restricted export of critical items, necessary for its booming smartphone and TV industry. / AB Canada Flash Point News 2019.

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Kunta Kinte
Kunta Kinte
04-06-21 02:03

Trade War is just another form of economic destruction?