The government says it could move as early as next week to remove Japan from South Korea’s “whitelist” of trade partners. 

An official at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy told reporters on Monday that final touches are being made to an advance notice of a revision regarding the country’s rules on imports and exports of strategic materials.

The proposed revision would remove Japan from a list of preferred trading partners.  

The official said the removal could come next week, at the earliest, following an inspection of the advance notice's wording.

Japan has sent an official inquiry as to the reason for the move, warning that the measure would be deemed arbitrary and retaliatory unless Seoul offers clear grounds.

Seoul, for its part, has said the whitelist revision is part of an effort to exercise more effective export control when doing business with countries Seoul deems difficult to collaborate with. 

Seoul’s move comes as Japan dropped South Korea from its own preferred trading partner list on August 28.

[Photo : KBS News]