Tokyo has expressed regret over South Korea's decision to take Japan off of its whitelist of countries that get preferential trade treatment.
Japanese media outlet NHK reported Wednesday the response from an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, adding that the remark comes as Tokyo was not able to hear back from Seoul on the reasons for such a move.
NHK then said that the ministry will continue to ask for Seoul's reasons behind the move, while analyzing how the removal from the whitelist will impact Japanese firms.
Various Japanese media outlets also reported on this, calling the move a retaliation against Japan's decision to first take South Korea off its whitelist.
Yomiuri Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun further reported that the move isn't likely to have a significant toll on Japan's industries as Korea does not export a large amount of strategic goods to Japan.
Something many papers also said, was that the move does not resolve the issue, and that it will further aggravate the situation.
It's been nearly a year since South Korea and Japan's ties began to fall apart due to the forced labor ruling, where South Korea's Supreme Court ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans forced to work for the firms during Japanese colonial rule.
But with South Korean government not intervening in the court's ruling as Tokyo had hoped, Japan imposed retaliatory measures on Seoul such as taking it off its whitelist of trusted trading partners.
Tokyo later claimed this was due to unspecified "security issues."
Seoul has been continuously asking Tokyo for talks on resolving the issue through dialogue, as has the U.S..
President Moon Jae-in numerous times, reiterated that the door to dialogue is wide open.
But with Japan firm that no talks shall take place on the trade restrictions, Seoul and Tokyo are at a standstill.
However efforts to continue diplomatic talks continue, as the two sides are reportedly seeking to hold a foreign ministers' meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week.
That would be the first time Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will meet her new counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi.
"While it's not likely that there will be any breakthrough at the meeting, an official at Seoul's foreign ministry says it is a natural step toward working things out.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News."