Tokyo on Friday revoked South Korea’s preferential status as a trade partner for the purchase of dual-use materials vital to Korean industry. Most of the machinery and components South Korea uses for its auto and semiconductor production is believed to fall under this category. This drives bilateral relations to their lowest ebb in recent memory and raises questions over the grounds for the Japanese action.
Seoul-Tokyo relations have not been rosy since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took power in 2012 – partly due to his support from Japan’s far-right, which itself utilizes anti-Korean sentiment. Since leftist Moon Jae-in took power in Seoul in 2017, the relationship has worsened further.
Last year, Moon struck down a “final and irreversible” agreement that was struck by his predecessor Park Geun-hye and Abe over “comfort women.” Last October, South Korea’s Supreme Court ruled that Japan’s steelmakers had to pay 100 million won (around $85,000) compensation each to four South Koreans who were victims of wartime forced labor. The ruling was seen as a direct challenge to the diplomatic understanding that all such claims were settled "completely and finally" under a 1965 treaty that established diplomatic relations between the two countries.
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source: @mit_obe, asiatimes , asia.nikkei, josungkim 2 3
I mixed two good articles that explain the rising tension (and boycotts) between Japan and South Korea since last October and alas give background on the latest foul reactions against Japanese K-pop idols as well as Korean celebrities promoting in Japan or even positively mentioning anything Japanese.