Seoul, July 11 (Jiji Press) — A boycott of Japanese goods is gradually spreading in South Korea following Japan’s tighter controls on semiconductor materials exports to the country.
Social media posts are calling for consumers not to buy items made in Japan, and some retailers have stopped selling such goods. Meanwhile, some local newspapers are asking for calm response.
A logo featuring the word “NO” and pledges not to go to or buy from Japan has gone viral on Twitter and Instagram under the hashtag “#boycottjapan.” The letter “O” in the “NO” is painted red to indicate the Japanese national flag.
In response to such posts, one social media account said it is right to consume South Korean products preferentially, while another declared a resolve to join the boycott. Some named specific Japanese companies and said they will be targets of the boycott.
The South Korean backlash against Japan is intensifying since Tokyo on July 1 announced tighter regulations of semiconductor materials exports.
On Friday, the day after the measures were implemented, a group of self-employed people declared in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul that they will stop selling Japanese goods.
Images of store shelves from which Japanese drinking water bottles were removed are circulating online.
Sales of Japanese beer at South Korean supermarket chain E-mart Inc. from July 1 to Tuesday dropped 15.6 pct from the nine-day period that preceded the Japanese announcement, according to South Korean media reports.
By contrast, sales of South Korean and imported beer jumped 19 pct and 17 pct, respectively, the reports said.
An E-mart source was quoted as saying that the boycott is beginning to have an impact on sales.
But it is uncertain whether the boycott will spread further.
The South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo said in an editorial Monday that the boycott will only damage South Korean companies doing business with Japanese firms. A smart response is needed, it also said.
The JoongAng Ilbo, another South Korean daily, stressed that economic ties between South Korea and Japan are unbreakable.