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Japanese Trade and Industry Minister Seko, finally, announced that Japan removed South Korea’s preferential trade status with effect from Wednesday, per Associated Press.

The decision deepened the trade dispute and hurt the bilateral relations between the two Asian economies.

Seko said: “This is just a review to enable proper checks on exports, and it’s not motivated by any intention to affect relations with South Korea, let alone any retaliation.”  

Japan’s position that the decision was over concerns about what could be used for military purposes. Japan has never specified the security concerns further, or how they originated, he added.