The Ministry of Finance of Japan announced on Aug. 29 that Japan exported 479 tons of hydrogen fluoride to South Korea in July this year, down 83.7 percent from the previous month, and the value of the exports fell 32.6 percent to 400.97 million yen.
The announcement is the Japanese government’s first statistical data showing that its export restrictions against South Korea led to a drop in hydrogen fluoride exports to South Korea. For reference, the monthly export value used to be 500 million yen to 700 million yen in 2018.
Kyodo News reported that the ministry did not count the exports to South Korea of fluorine polyimide and photoresists, the other two items subject to the export restrictions. It is likely that the two items are being affected even more in that South Korea’s dependence on the items from Japan exceeded 90 percent whereas its reliance on Japanese hydrogen fluoride was 44.6 percent in the first half of this year.
Kyodo News also reported that the bilateral relations of South Korea and Japan can be further exacerbated as Japan’s export curbs are increasingly affecting South Korean companies. In the meantime, the Japanese government issued an export permit for hydrogen fluoride export to South Korea on Aug. 29. It is the first hydrogen fluoride export permit since the implementation of the restrictions. Earlier, the Japanese government issued photoresist export permits on Aug. 7 and 19.