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INTERVIEWER: The world has been fixated on Donald Trump's tariffs on China, but a new trade war is emerging in Asia-- this time, between Japan and South Korea. What started as a historical dispute over forced labour during Japan's wartime rule on the Korean peninsula has swiftly turned into a major economic and political crisis for Seoul. Tokyo believes that compensation for wartime forced labour was settled under a 1965 treaty.
SHINZO ABE: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERVIEWER: But South Korean courts have allowed individual claims to be made against Japanese companies. Blaming a loss of trust and security issues, Shinzo Abe's government has turned to export controls, threatening to disrupt supplies of key technologies to South Korean companies in a bid to pressure South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
MOON JAE-IN: [SPEAKING KOREAN]
INTERVIEWER: South Koreans are outraged, boycotting Japanese-made goods. And in the most extreme cases, two men have died after setting themselves on fire in protest. Some international experts are also worried that Mr Abe is following the Trump playbook in weaponizing trade. South Korea's tech giants, including the world's two biggest makers of memory chips, Samsung and SK Hynix, are urgently looking for replacement sources for some of the key materials and components that they use to make computer chips. Any long-term disruptions to the South Korean companies will cause serious headaches across the global technology supply chain. There are also fears that the dispute will drive a lasting wedge between these key US allies in Asia, just as Washington needs their cooperation to deal with North Korea's missile tests and the rising threats posed by China and Russia.