The Japanese government has announced that it will enter into talks with South Korea over Tokyo's tighter export controls.
South Korea launched a procedure earlier this month to file a complaint at the World Trade Organization over the Japanese measure. Seoul asked Tokyo to hold bilateral negotiations on the matter as such talks are a requirement for seeking WTO arbitration.
Japan's trade minister Isshu Sugawara said on Friday that the government decided to accept the request.
Sugawara said, "There is no change in Japan's stance that its review of export controls is consistent with WTO rules. We will give South Korea a thorough explanation."
In July, Japan started implementing tighter export screening on three types of materials destined for South Korea. The items are used to make high-tech products, including semiconductors.
Seoul says Tokyo's action is politically motivated and a discriminatory move against South Korea.
But Japan says the measure is necessary to properly manage its exports.
The two sides need to reach an agreement within 60 days of commencing talks if they hope to prevent the case from going to a WTO arbitration panel.
But the countries remain far apart, making it seem certain they will face off at the WTO.