Celina Yoon has more.
During a meeting of the WTO's Council for Trade in Goods held in Geneva, Ambassador to Geneva Paik Ji-ah said that that Japan's restrictions on exports of key chemicals used to make high-tech components to South Korea went against free trade principles.
President Moon Jae-in warned Japan on Monday that the trade row could lead to retaliatory measures from Korea.
Seoul also plans to raise the issue at a general council meeting of the WTO, which will take place July 23-24. Although 59.9 percent said the trade row would have a negative impact on the industry, majority of 46.8 percent said they don't have any countermeasures to address the situation.
In Seoul, a government official said a South Korean foreign ministry official was expected to discuss the curbs with his counterpart in Washington.
Japan's envoy Ihara told the meeting that it was not a trade embargo but an operational review needed to implement export controls based on Japan's security concerns.
The row between the USA allies flared last October when South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that Japan's Nippon Steel (5401.T) must compensate South Koreans for forced labor during World War Two.
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Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga speaks during a press conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Tuesday, July 9, 2019.
Japan announced curbs last week on high-tech exports of materials used in smartphone displays and chips to South Korea amid a growing dispute over South Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms during World War II.
Japan's export restrictions cover fluorinated polyimides, which are used in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for TV's and smartphones, and photoresist and hydrogen fluoride, used for making semiconductors.
"Regarding export controls with South Korea, it is true we haven't had sufficient communications or exchanges of opinion with South Korea for at least three years", Nishimura said. One petition demanded that South Korea boycott next year's Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Japan has cited an "inappropriate case" in adopting the tougher export rules, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicating a connection with sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missile development programs.
Additionally, caught within the fray are Japanese chemical suppliers akin to JSR (4185.T) and Stella Chemifa (4109.T), that are exploring methods to provide South Korean purchasers from crops outdoors Japan.
The countries share a bitter history dating to Japan's colonisation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, which saw forced use of labour by Japanese companies and the use of "comfort women", a Japanese euphemism for girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in its wartime brothels.