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Reports: Japan OKs 1st high-tech export to South Korea since July

Japan gave the go-ahead to export a high-tech material to South Korea, which held off on taking a decision on whether to remove Japan from a list of favored trading partners, Reuters and the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

This is the first export approval since July, when it announced tighter controls over the shipments of fluorinated polyimide, resists and hydrogen fluoride, along with their relevant technologies, to South Korea. These materials are used in making semiconductors and other smartphone components.

The two nations remain locked in a diplomatic dispute over a court case involving compensation for forced labor during World War II.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry determined that the semiconductor manufacturing material was not expected to be used for military equipment. Japan Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko, however, warned that the country could expand its export controls to include other materials if exports are misused, according to Reuters.

Earlier in August Japan decided to dropped South Korea from its white list, effective Aug. 28, forcing the latter to threaten a similar action. South Korean ministers were scheduled to discuss the matter Aug. 8, but delayed their decision.

South Korea has said it will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization against Japan's export curbs.