South Korea's Supreme Court ruled in October 2018 that Japanese firms must compensate the Koreans who had to endure forced labor during Japan's wartime colonial rule over Korea.
Tokyo protested strongly, saying all colonial-era reparation issues were settled under a 1965 deal that normalized the two countries' relations.
Then, in July last year, Tokyo imposed restrictions on its exports of three key materials vital to South Korea's tech industry, accusing Seoul of a "breach of trust" in the management of these materials.
South Korea decided the next month that it would terminate its military intelligence sharing pact with Japan.
But the termination was withdrawn later that year when the two sides began talks on the forced labor issue and the trade restrictions.
Those talks continued until recently, but the two sides remain far apart.
And there's not much time left the South Korean court can start moving in August to liquidate the Japanese assets it's seized.
"Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan spoke on the phone. Minister Kang expressed regret on how Japan's trade restrictions remain in place even though we've resolved all issues cited by Japan as reasons for the restrictions."
In the meantime, the dispute between Seoul and Tokyo is expanding to other issues.
Japan recently opened an information center for tourists at site where it subjected Koreans to forced labor, but it failed to clarify that in the information presented there.
And Japan, while admitting that South Korea's export management system has improved, still claims its export curbs are reasonable.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.