South Korea wants more investment from Japanese companies into their neighboring country and business ties should remain unfazed by the still ongoing trade row between the two Asian neighbors, Seoul's trade minister said Wednesday.
"Despite the temporal tumble in the bilateral relationship, the exchange and cooperation between the two nations must remain steady," Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said during a meeting with officials from the Seoul Japan Club, which represents some 400 Japanese firms operating here.
"We ask Japanese firms to continue to play their role as a bridge for the economic cooperation of the two countries," Yoo added, requesting them to especially expand investment in emerging areas, such as the material and parts industries.
In response, Japanese firms requested South Korea to revamp its related policies to pave the way for them to expand investment here and said the two countries should resolve the discord soon as well.
Japan has been the No. 2 foreign investor for South Korea, with its investment focused on the electronics, chemicals and machinery industries.
Seoul-Tokyo relations, however, have been frayed after a South Korean top court in 2018 ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of Tokyo's forced labor during its brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
In an apparent retaliation, Japan imposed restrictions on exports of three industrial materials critical for South Korea's chip and display industries in July, and later removed South Korea from its list of trusted trading partners.
Trade between Seoul and Tokyo reached $85.2 billion in 2018, rising for a third consecutive year since the $71.4 billion posted in 2015. The ministry said the two countries are the third-largest trading partner for each other.
Amid the trade tussle, South Korea's shipments to Japan fell 10.9 percent in November from a year earlier, while imports plunged 18.5 percent, data showed. (Yonhap)