Japan on Tuesday rejected South Korea's call for negotiations to resolve a row over Tokyo's export restrictions against the South, saying it has no intention of lifting the curbs and the issue is not a matter of talks.
Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko made the remark after a Cabinet meeting, a day after South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Japan to retract the restrictions on exports of key materials to the South and called for negotiations to resolve the issue.
Seko said the decision was part of efforts to review domestic operations of export control.
"We are not thinking of retracting it," he said.
The remark dashed hopes that the two sides may hold the first meeting on the matter this week. Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun reported earlier that government officials of the two countries will hold talks in Tokyo as early as this week to discuss the issue.
Seko indicated, however, that working-level negotiations may be up for consideration, saying that Seoul's trade authorities have been asking for confirmation regarding the toughened measures.
Seoul's foreign ministry repeated its call for diplomatic efforts.
"It is not desirable to Korea-Japan relations for both governments to react to each other like this. That's why we called for consultations so as to prevent this diplomatically and urged Japan to voluntarily retract the measures," ministry spokesman Kim In-chul told a press briefing.
"The government will continue to do so," he said.
Last week, Japan announced a stringent approval process for exports to South Korea of high-tech materials essential for the production of semiconductors and display panels.
The decision was widely seen as retaliation for last year's decisions by South Korea's Supreme Court that Japanese companies should compensate Korean victims of wartime forced labor during Japan's colonial rule.
Tokyo has strongly protested the decisions, arguing that all compensation issues between the two countries were settled under a 1965 treaty that the South signed when normalizing relations with Japan in exchange for $500 million in compensation. (Yonhap)