Japan Flag - South Korea Flag

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Japan’s foreign minister publicly admonished South Korea’s ambassador on Friday in a deepening row over compensation for Korean forced labourers that has spilled over into their trade in high-tech materials used to make memory chips and screens. The dispute between the two important U.S. allies took a deadly turn on Friday when a South Korean man set himself on fire in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul in an apparent protest. He later died. South Korea accused Japan of violating international law with its curbs this month on the export of high-tech materials to South Korean chipmaking giants, which could disrupt global supply chains. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono summoned South Korea’s ambassador to Japan, Nam Gwan-pyo, a day after the passing of a deadline set by Japan for South Korea to accept third-country arbitration of the forced-labour dispute. Relations been the neighbours have been difficult for decades because of South Korean resentment of Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula. The forced labour issue was thrust to centre stage last year when a South Korean court ordered two Japanese firms to pay compensation to Koreans forced to work for them. Japan says the whole compensation issue was settled under a 1965 treaty. Kono said South Korea had to take swift measures to correct what Japan says was the improper ruling by South Korea’s Supreme Court ordering the compensation. “What the South Korean government is doing now is equivalent to subverting the post-World War Two international order,” Kono said…

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