SEOUL -- The de facto head of the Samsung group reportedly has traveled to Japan to talk with suppliers about ways to mitigate the impact of Tokyo's tightened export rules on the conglomerate's core semiconductor business.
The trip by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was reported Sunday by South Korean media. Lee is to ask executives at Samsung suppliers to take such steps as shipping affected materials from plants outside Japan.
The Japanese government set tougher requirements Thursday for exports to South Korea of materials including hydrogen fluoride, an etching gas. Samsung, which is said to have a roughly one-month supply of hydrogen fluoride, could be forced to cut back production if it has trouble procuring more from the Japanese suppliers that dominate the market.
Meanwhile, South Korea's presidential Blue House said Sunday that Kim Sang-jo, presidential chief policy secretary, and Economy and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki had met with representatives from major companies to discuss uncertainties surrounding the nation's economy. The two sides are believed to have discussed how to respond to the export curbs.
While Samsung's Lee could not attend because of his Japan trip, the heads of three other leading conglomerates -- Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group and LG Group -- were reportedly present.