South Korea was pushed to a risky position in 2019 when Japan took retaliatory steps to regulate exports of three key semiconductor materials to South Korea in an effort to hamper South Korea's economic growth based on exports of semiconductors, cars, and electronics. South Korea, which was heavily dependent on Japanese materials, had to seek ways to localize products to survive.
The export regulation by Tokyo came after a ruling by South Korea's highest court in October 2018. Justices acknowledged individual rights to get compensation for wartime forced labor during Imperial Japan's colonial rule (1910~1945). The Supreme Court upheld a 2013 ruling that ordered Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to pay 100 million won each to four Korean victims.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said held a conference on March 22 to discuss its incubation plans for future technologies with some 200 scientists and researchers. The science ministry also talked about setting up strategies to support companies, institutes, and other organizations capable of developing new materials.
"The South Korean government has been expanding its support for the research and development of new materials while we experienced a crisis in the global supply chain. We have pushed for the localization of technologies in order to acquire technology sovereignty and develop source technologies to turn a crisis into an opportunity," science minister Lee Jong-ho told reporters.
Typically, it takes more than 10 years to develop a new material. The government designated the top 100 prioritized future materials that researchers should concentrate on developing. The science ministry formed a material specialist committee and drew a detailed roadmap that will support the development of the top 100 most important materials by 2035.
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