Even as the trade war between China and United States shows no sign of abating another similar situation seems to be brewing between Asian neighbors Japan and South Korea. The tensions between both nations intensified last week when prime minister of Japan imposed new export restrictions to South Korea that would affect its tech industry in a negative manner. This step led several Koreans to declare boycott of Japanese goods on social media. The dispute between both these Asian countries is more political than economical and experts believe that both will engage in retaliatory measures for a few months that may lead to souring of bilateral relations.
The current escalation between both is likely due to inability of both Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and South Korea President Moon Jae-in to make progress on long standing trade disagreements during the G-20 Summit last month. The souring of relations began when South Korean court awarded damages to Koreans who claimed that they had been forced to work for Japanese firms during the Second World War. Following this the Japanese economy ministry issued a statement that it will update licensing policy on transfer and export of controlled items and technology to South Korea.
After this Tokyo removed South Korea from its list of preferred trade partners or “white countries” The current tensions between both nations is due to more than 6 decades of simmering resentment that set in during Japanese occupation of Korean Peninsula for nearly three and a half decades. During this period many Korean women were forced to become sex workers and in 2015 during a hearing Japan made a public apology and promised to set up a fund of $9.4 million to help them. But Korean advocacy groups criticized the fund and dissolved it which earned it the ire of Japan and it warned that the action would damage bilateral ties.