South Korean and Japanese government officials will meet in Seoul on Wednesday in hopes to find a resolution to its trade war, according to the South Korea Foreign Ministry.
South Korean foreign ministry official Kim Jung-han will meet Japanese diplomat Shigeki Takizaki in hopes that a path toward reconciliation can be made and to ensure South Korea’s participation in Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony on October 22 in Tokyo.
The South Korea-Japan trade war started last year when the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese corporations to pay reparations for their involvement in slave labor on the Korean Peninsula during its occupation in 1910 to 1945.
The Japanese government claims the Korean court ruling comes in direct conflict with a 1965 treaty between the two countries that explicitly stated all war time compensation claims were “completely and finally” settled.
As a result economic, political and cultural relations between the two Asian economic giants have reached a historical low.
South Koreans have boycotted all things “Made in Japan” since Japan slapped export restrictions on key materials needed in South Korea’s tech manufacturing supply chain — a move economists characterized as “weaponizing trade.”
Lexus cars, Asahi beer and luxury cosmetics are all on the list of goods South Koreans have stopped buying since the escalation in tensions due to dispute over compensation during Japan’s annexation of the Korean peninsula.
The month of September was the worst month for Japanese automobile sales since the South Korea-Japan trade war escalated.
Registered Japanese automobiles fell 59.8 percent in South Korea in September compared to the same time period last year, according to Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).