South Korea to file WTO complaint over Japan trade curbs

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea is filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japan's tightened export controls on key materials South Korean companies use to make computer chips and displays, accusing Tokyo of weaponizing trade to retaliate over political rows.

Senior trade official Yoo Myung-hee said Seoul will request bilateral consultation with Japan over the trade curbs Wednesday as the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process.

Japan in July imposed tighter export controls on three chemicals South Korean companies use to produce semiconductors and displays for smartphones and TVs.

Seoul says Tokyo is retaliating over South Korean court rulings that called for Japanese companies to offer reparations to aging South Korean plaintiffs over World War II forced labor.

Japan has said it has security concerns.