A trade dispute
between Japan and South Korea has caused fiery rhetoric from both sides – but now South Korean consumers are leading a very real boycott that is hurting Japanese businesses’ bottom line.
According to reporting by The Korea Times
and The Guardian
, supermarkets and travel agents in South Korea reported sales losses from around 10 percent for Japanese Natto, a fermented soybean product, up to a decrease of 70 percent in travel bookings from Korea to Japan. Half of those who have booked a Japanese vacation are also currently canceling.
Some stores in Korea have cleared their shelves of Japanese products altogether and there have been reports of gas stations refusing to fill up Japanese model cars. Beer was also on the hitlist, with shops reporting sales losses of up to 40 percent for Japanese companies.
The conflict started when Japan announced in early July that it was curbing the export of substances used to make light-emitting diodes and semiconductors to South Korea. Observers have tied
Japan’s confrontational attitude to recent court decisions in South Korea demanding Japan pay compensation to South Koreans forced into sex slavery during the Japanese occupation of the country in the first half of the 20th century. Tokyo denied any such connections.