Fluoride Action Network

Export curbs ignite boycotts in S. Korea against Japanese goods

Source: The Asahi Shimbun | July 7th, 2019 | By Hajimu Takeda/Correspondent
Location: South Korea
Industry type: Electronics Industry

In a protest of Japanese export restrictions, members of the association of small and midsize retailers stomp on boxes showing logos of Japanese companies near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on July 5. (Provided by The Dong-A Ilbo)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

SEOUL–South Koreans are boycotting Japanese products and canceling sightseeing trips to Japan in anger over Tokyo’s imposition of export restrictions on materials for semiconductors and smartphones.

On July 6, a supermarket in a residential area in Seoul’s Yangcheon district posted a notice informing customers that it will not sell Japanese products.

Beer, condiments and other items from Japan have been removed from the store’s shelves.

The supermarket manager said although beverages from Sapporo Breweries Ltd. were popular items from Japan, the store decided to suspend the sale of Japanese products.

“I made the decision for our country,” the manager said. “We will continue with this boycott until Japan withdraws its ‘trade retaliation.'”

Japan started restricting exports of fluorinated polyimides, resists and hydrogen fluoride to South Korea on July 4.

The move was announced amid further deteriorating relations between Tokyo and Seoul over the issue of South Korean wartime laborers who worked for Japanese companies during World War II.

On July 5, the association of retailers, in which the supermarket in Seoul’s Yangcheon district belongs, and other entities held a news conference near the Japanese Embassy in the capital, declaring the suspension of sales of Japanese goods.

South Korean TV networks broadcast their demonstration in which participants stomped on boxes bearing logos of Japanese companies.

Local media reported that about 230 outlets will join the boycott to be followed within days by 100,000 operators of convenience stores and other retail stores.

A similar protest is also spreading on the Internet.

Internet users added an entry calling for Seoul’s retaliatory measures at the section for filing petitions at the South Korean presidential office’s website.

More than 30,000 people have signed up for such measures by July 6.

In addition, a list of products targeted under the boycott is circulating on the Internet, citing the names of Japanese companies.

On social networking sites, a flurry of pictures posted showed receipts for refunds after South Koreans canceled trips to Japan.