South Koreans are boycotting anything Japanese

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 22, 2019 - Duration: 02:13s

South Koreans are boycotting anything Japanese

As a trade dispute between South Korea and Japan escalates, South Koreans are using their pockets to protest against Tokyo's new export restrictions.

Grace Lee reports.

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South Koreans are boycotting anything Japanese

This is Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe getting slapped with kimchi.

An escalating dispute between Tokyo and Seoul has seen South Koreans getting creative with their protests.

They're unhappy with limits from Japan that restrict shipping high-tech materials to South Korea.

But these rallies are just the tip of the iceberg.

At supermarkets across the country, Japanese products are being pulled off shelves as a "Boycott Japan" movement quickly gathers steam online.

Korean customers are shunning beer, snacks or anything else from Japan.

It's a hit that merchants here - are willing to take.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN DIRECTOR AT PRUNE-MART, CHO MIN-HYUK, SAYING: "We expect a 10-15% revenue drop.

But despite our losses as a small business, we're going ahead with the boycott to protest the unfair export restrictions." Protesters in South Korea see the limits as retaliation after the two sides clashed on an issue that stretches back to World War Two.

Japan had colonized the Korean peninsula and forced many Koreans to work for its companies during wartime.

South Korea recently asked Japan to start a joint fund for the victims but Japan refused.

It considers the matter settled.

Instead, Tokyo slapped on trade restrictions, sparking Korean anger and the boycotts.

Online, screenshots of Japan trip cancellations have been trending on social media.

Twenty-nine-year-old Lee Sang-Won took a $100 hit for swapping his tickets to Japan for Taiwan instead.

He says its a small price to pay.

(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 29-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN DESIGNER, LEE SANG-WON, SAYING: "I think it's important for us to show the Japanese government how we feel.

The boycotts aren't about how much economic damage we can do, but more about raising awareness and sending a message." The protests took a dark turn on Friday (July 19), when a South Korean man set himself on fire in front of the Japanese embassy.

He died hours later at the hospital.

That same day in Tokyo, tensions were sky high in an exchange between Japan's foreign minister and South Korea's ambassador.

South Korea has rejected Japan's call for third-party arbitration and Japan has rejected South Korea's proposed plan to solve the issue.

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