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Japanese Brand Boycott and Korean-Japanese relationship
김유진 | 승인2019.10.17 02:31

Recently, the deteriorated relationship between Korea and Japan has been an issue. This conflict involves not just disputes over historical facts but also economies and politics. Japan has retaliated to South Korea economically by hitting Korea's key industries. In response to the decision of Japan, Korean has started a campaign to boycott Japanese products in public. Interestingly, this event has a historical background.

 

For about 6 years beginning in 1939, millions of Koreans were exploited for forced labor. Many even died after doing hard work in poor conditions. So, the Korean victims have demanded compensation from Japan since Korea was liberated from Japan in 1945, but there hasn't been much progress. Last year, the Korean Supreme Court ruled that war criminal enterprises of Japan need to compensate Koreans for forced labor conditions during the Japanese colonial era.

 

However, the government and enterprises of Japan, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, didn't agree with the judgment on the grounds of the 1965 'Korea-Japan Claims Agreement'. The agreement in 1965 required Korea to give up the right for future claims in return for half a billion dollars and an economic cooperation fund. But the 'Korea-Japan Claims Agreement' meant removing the claims between countries, not the individual claims of the people who were victims of the atrocities. In conclusion, from the Korean court's perspective, the agreement can't be grounds for not having to pay compensation.

 

As a result of the disagreement of Japan, last March, Korea attached the patent and trademark rights of the Japanese companies. The move embarrassed the Japan side. In June, Korea made another suggestion to come to an agreement, but Japan didn't accept it, too. The atmosphere between the two countries grew cold. In July and August, Japan restricted exporting semiconductor parts to Korea. So finally, the boycott of Japanese products has been active in Korea. It is not only against the products but also against visiting for trips. According to Hana Tour, Korea's largest tourism agency, the number of reservations for Japan tours has been cut in half during the boycott compared to the same time last year.

 

At the same time, the Korean government has taken some efforts to support the domestic economy. First, Korea decided to offer support to domestic companies that are struggling with export regulations. Second, the investments will be increased so that goods relied on Japan can be developed in Korea on their own. This time the conflict between Korea and Japan doesn't seem like it will end soon. If this situation is prolonged, Korea, Japan and international companies using semiconductors from Korea could suffer great damage. Therefore, the South Korean president said the Korean government should prepare for every situation, referring to the possibility of a prolonged crisis. So, we as a citizen should know the severity of this situation.

 

 

L.L.F reporter You-Jin Kim


김유진  so05104@naver.com
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