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friendly economic time for anchors. Today (17th) we will be with reporter Kwon Ae-ri. There were some economic achievements at the Japan-South Korea summit yesterday. Now that Japan has lifted restrictions on the export of semiconductor major components, how do you think this will affect our semiconductor industry?

The biggest
thing is that our companies will become as convenient as they used to be in doing business. It will also help you manage your inventory.

Four years ago, Japan's export restrictions were divided into two main categories.

Export restrictions on three key materials essential to Korea's semiconductor process, white list for others, and exclusion of white countries At this time, there was a lot of anxiety in the field.

At first, it was something I had never done before, so everyone was confused about how it would unfold.

However, as time went on, Japan's export restrictions did not mean that it would not sell goods to our country.

It wasn't an export ban, it was a tricky export process. You may not sell it. It was a kind of pressure device that could cut off the supply at any time.

So, since Japan's export restrictions, we have made a lot of efforts to diversify or localize the import lines of materials and parts that we absolutely depend on Japan.

However, it doesn't happen overnight, so it's hard to buy a lot of materials and parts that need to be imported from Japan at once.

It's best to buy less when you need less, buy more when you need it, and buy it on the fly, but because of the Japanese government's regulations, the export process is more complicated than before, so even if you hug the inventory, you have to buy enough once and use it to ease the burden on Japanese customers.

We weren't anxious either. In the future, we won't have to force ourselves to do this as we did before.


As Kwon mentioned earlier, in the last four years, because of export restrictions, we've tried a lot to reduce our dependence on Japanese materials and components. But there's actually a little bit of a reduction.


Yes, it's shrunk a lot. Three key materials that we once absolutely relied on in Japan are high-purity hydrogen fluoride gas, which is used to chip away at semiconductor surfaces and remove impurities, and photoresist.

Photoresist is a semiconductor that draws patterns with light on a wafer that looks like a round disk. It is a material that serves as a sketch. At first glance, it looks like water.

And fluorine polyimide, an essential material for making mobile phone screens that fold and unfold, relied heavily on Japan until the Japanese export restrictions.

In particular, photoresist relied on Japan for up to 93%. Localization is very difficult, but attempts are still being made.

By diversifying our import lines, we succeeded in reducing Japan's share to 70%. It's a huge change in a short period of time.

When Japan singled out these three items and targeted them for export restrictions, we were confident that it would be difficult for us to replace Japanese materials.

Of course, we can't get out of it all overnight, but we have been able to localize and diversify import lines much faster and more efficiently than we thought.

Conversely, among Japan-based companies, specialized companies, whose exports to Korea accounted for an absolute proportion, were hit hard.

Now, the inconvenience experienced by companies will disappear with the lifting of export restrictions, but it should not be an occasion to reduce the localization efforts that have been difficult so far.

Even within Japan, there is a lot of analysis that Korea will not return to the way it used to be in Japan.


I see. So far, I've heard about Japan's export restrictions, that is, export restrictions on semiconductor core materials, but there's one more thing. Japan removed us from the list of whitelist countries, and this has been reinstated. (I'm going to discuss whether or not to do this now.) We're going to discuss whether or not to do it. Tell me a little bit about what it's about.


The so-called white list are, in short, countries that give preferential treatment when exporting. These are countries that have made the export process smooth and comfortable for the other country.

Japan has over 20 countries on the white list.

So almost every country that trades with Japan is classified as a white country, and we've been out of that since four years ago.

So whether our trade with Japan is really back to basics, and the barometer to gauge this is whether we are on the white list again.