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GENEVA: Japan told the World Trade Organization on Wednesday that its controls on exports to South Korea were based on national security concerns, and did not constitute an embargo or an issue appropriate for discussion at the WTO.

Japan has threatened to drop South Korea from the list of countries that face minimum trade restrictions under a trade control law, which would require Japanese exporters to seek a licence for certain items they want to sell to South Korea that could be used in manufacturing weapons.

"First and foremost, the measure referred to by Korea is based on the export control system for national security, and is not an appropriate agenda for the WTO," Japan's ambassador Junichi Ihara told the WTO meeting, according to a copy of his statement provided to Reuters.

Copyright Reuters, 2019