Calls for boycott of Japan spread in South Korea
Calls for boycott of Japan spread in South Korea
  • Jung Se-jin
  • 승인 2019.07.08 11:33
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Korean consumers are increasingly boycotting Japanese products in response to Japan's export restrictions. 

Some companies have complained, saying that they have been subject to a misdirected boycott because of the mistaken perception that they are Japanese companies.

On July 5, tthe Korean Federation of Small and Medium Business (KFSM) declared in front of the Japanese Embassy that it would not sell Japanese goods. All products that have already been purchased "will be returned," an official said.

It is extremely unusual for merchants, not consumers, to carry out a boycott.

Besides convenience stores, some grocery stores are clearing off Japanese products such as beer and cigarettes from their shelves. 

The National Supermarket Association is planning to expand its boycott campaign to the entire country by drawing up detailed countermeasures and gradually increasing the number of Japanese products that will be prevented from entering the market. 

"It doesn't matter if we lose money," said a food and ingredients market operator in Seoul. "We will stop the boycott on the day the Japanese government ends its retaliatory actions." 

Even Korean consumers are releasing photos of cancellations of their trips to Japan via SNS. At the same time,  some companies have explained that they have no direct relationships with Japan, as a list of 60 Japanese brands has been spreading online. 

Coca-Cola Korea issued an explanation on July 5, saying that its products are not from Japan, but that their products were included in the boycott list. Daiso, which is invariably mentioned in every boycott of Japanese products, also expressed its resentment, saying, "We are a Korean company that has received foreign investment." Although it is true that Daiso Japan owns a 34 percent stake in Daiso Korea, the largest shareholder is a Korean company and is managing its own business in Korea, according to Daiso.

Seven Eleven is the No. 1 Japanese convenience store, but it is originally a U.S. brand, with 70 percent of its stake being held by South Korea's Lotte Group. Sony Pictures, which recently released "Spider-Man Far From Home," was also confirmed to be a U.S. company. 

There have been reports that even Japanese media are criticizing the Abe administration's policies, and that this issue is becoming an increasingly emotional battle between the Korean and Japanese people.

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