July 9 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to walk a different path than neighboring Japan during a visit to local firm SK Hynix.
Moon, who has applauded South Korean industries for a rapid response to Japanese export control restrictions in 2019, said Thursday Tokyo's policy targeting high-tech South Korean companies was "unjust," MoneyToday reported.
"It has been a year since Japan's unfair export control measures have been ongoing," the South Korean president said. "We will take a 'different path' than Japan's."
Japan took restrictive measures after South Korea supported compensation for Korean forced laborers during World War II. Last year, Japan tightened export regulations for three materials -- fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and resists -- used to make semiconductors, flat-screen TVs and smartphones, South Korea's top exports.
On Thursday Moon said he previously feared the Japanese measures would deliver a "major blow" to South Korea's economy.
"So far we have overcome the crisis without a single production disruption," Moon said.
Seoul invested in local companies following the Japanese decision. According to Moon, the government invested about $1.67 billion in the materials, parts and equipment industries, expedited licensing applications and "established a new supply chain" that is global in scope and favors free trade.
Moon also said his administration is launching a new strategy, "Materials, Parts and Equipment 2.0," according to Maeil Business on Thursday. The plan includes investments of nearly $4.19 billion in research and development, and the expansion of the number of items eligible for investments from 100 to 338, according to the report.
Seoul's plan is to also nurture 100 global companies in the relevant sectors, including in firms operating in biotech, green tech, energy and software.
Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, the parent company of SK Hynix, said Thursday his conglomerate would share valuable data with other local companies to aid innovation, Korea Economic Daily reported.
SK Materials, the group's semiconductor material affiliate, began manufacturing hydrogen fluoride gas in June.
Hydrogen fluoride or etching gas was included in Japan's 2019 restrictions.