The Japanese government has reportedly authorized a second shipment of an industrial material covered by its export restrictions on South Korea.
According to industry and government sources, Japan has approved a request to export photoresist to South Korean chipmaker Samsung Electronics.
This is the second such approval since Tokyo announced export curbs on three key materials to Seoul in July.
The latest batch, if shipped, is said to be a supply that'll last for six months.
"Photoresists are rarely used for military purposes, so Japan may think it would be unreasonable to ban shipping those items. Rather than photoresists, Korean companies would feel a more pressing need for hydrogen fluoride which has not been approved for shipping yet."
"At this moment, to avoid unnecessary confrontation between the two countries, it's very important for the government and the bussiness community to contain the current situation and to manage the current relationship."
The South Korean government and industry sources say uncertainties will remain unless Tokyo completely withdraws its export curbs.
Some say the Japanese move might be a message ahead of a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers in Beijing, which could also affect the fate of the Seoul-Tokyo military information-sharing pact this week.
In the meantime, a Korean media source said on Tuesday that Japanese semiconductor component suppliers have been asking South Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK hynix to continue their business.
They reportedly have expressed a willingness to produce high-quality materials or increase their production in South Korea because the items produced overseas are not subject to Tokyo's export curbs.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.