Japan's Export Curbs Against Korea Backfire

      May 21, 2020 12:51

      Japanese manufacturers have taken the hit from vindictive curbs on exports of vital semiconductor materials to Korea their government imposed last July.

      The Nihon Keizai Shimbun on Wednesday said Japanese materials and parts manufacturers are being hurt as Korean clients simply turned to other suppliers.

      Amid yet another historical spat last year over compensation for forced labor victims, Japan restricted exports of three key materials used by Korean companies to make computer chips and display panels -- high-purity hydrogen fluoride, photoresist and fluorinated polyamides.

      It was not an outright ban but required each shipment to be approved individually, with a view to getting the paperwork stuck in the mills of bureaucracy.

      But instead of hurting Korea, the curbs backfired on Japanese materials makers.

      LG Display began to buy hydrogen fluoride from a domestic supplier, Soulbrain, instead of Japan's Stella Chemifa in November last year. Samsung is also apparently buying it from domestic suppliers that are trying to improve its purity. 

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