|Japan's exports to Korea reached $15 billion over the July-October period compared with a year earlier, down 14 percent on-year, according to industry data. Korea Times file|
Japan suffered a wider decrease in its outbound shipments to South Korea compared with the other way around amid the months-long trade dispute between the two Asian neighbors, data showed Sunday.
Japan's exports to South Korea reached US$15 billion over the July-October period compared with a year earlier, down 14 percent on-year, industry data from the two countries showed.
Reflecting the decreasing trade, South Korea also dropped one notch to rank as the fourth-largest trading partner of Japan in October, marking the first change in the ranking since June 2005.
In contrast, South Korea's outbound shipments to Japan reached $9.4 billion over the cited period, down 7 percent on-year.
Seoul and Tokyo have been facing an unprecedented trade dispute since Japan imposed restrictions on exporting three key industrial materials critical for South Korea's chip and display industries in July. Japan also later removed Seoul from its list of trusted trading partners.
South Korean tech firms have not yet suffered notable disruptions in their production lines, but the dispute nevertheless emerged as one of the major business uncertainties for them.
Tokyo cited South Korea's alleged lax export control system for sensitive materials that can be diverted for military use as the ostensible reason behind its export restrictions.
Seoul regards a series of measures as retaliatory against the country's Supreme Court ruling that ordered compensation for Koreans forced into labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea and Japan plan to hold high-level talks centered on export control systems in Tokyo on Monday.
It is the first official gathering of trade officials between the two Asian neighbors after Seoul "conditionally" suspended the termination of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan last month.
Experts said the two countries are unlikely to immediately find a solution in the upcoming talk, but it is still significant that the two countries are starting a dialogue.
"We cannot predict the outcome of the upcoming meeting, but we will have a sufficient amount of discussions," an official from South Korea's industry ministry said. (Yonhap)