S Korean cosmetics firm boss quits over YouTube video praising Japan

By Behrouz MEHRI

The head of a major South Korean cosmetics firm resigned Sunday after facing heavy backlash for forcing his staff to watch a YouTube video praising Japan during a raging trade war between the two nations.

The clip, played at a monthly meeting of some 700 employees of Kolmar Korea last week, slams President Moon Jae-in's response to Japan's trade regulations and praises Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for "not punching Moon in the face".

The video also refers to Venezuela's crippling economy, where "women are going into prostitution for mere seven dollars", and adds that South Korea is not far from meeting a similar fate.

The incident triggered massive public fury and mounted calls to boycott the company, which supplies dozens of cosmetics brands worldwide.

Yoon Dong-han, chairman of Kolmar Korea, apologized on Sunday for "stirring up trouble" and said he will step down from his post.

"I apologize to the consumers and the Korean people who trusted and loved our products," he said, adding: "I would particularly like to offer my sincere apologies to women."

Seoul and Tokyo are embroiled in a bitter trade and diplomatic dispute over a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay for forced labor during Tokyo's colonization of the peninsula.

The feud has seen Japan impose new export restrictions crucial to South Korean tech giants in July and led to the two neighbors removing each other from their lists of trusted trade partners earlier this month.

South Koreans have launched a widespread boycott of Japanese goods since July, which saw sales of Japanese cars drop more than 30 percent and forced several airlines to suspend routes to their neighbor because of falling demand.

The company issued a separate apology last week saying only part of the video was shown with the intention to train its staff to "have a correct sense of history rather than reacting emotionally".

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Once again, a striking display of how the Korean government and its rabid anti-Japan base acts, as compared to how the Japanese government and the Japanese people have acted throughout this 'trade war' nonsense.

I praise Yoon for being one of the few sensible South Koreans in positions of power. Yet, as per usual, is forced to resign due to bullying from the ignorant masses who simply cannot accept that their own government is wrong, and that Japan is always bad.

Mr. Yoon, I salute you! Best wishes in the next step of your career and life.

2 ( +6 / -4 )


You must be so old that you have forgotten that 3 days ago the Japanese government threatened to pull out funding for Nagoya if they don't stop the Comfort Women exhibition. And where did you even read the word "government" in this story? You need new glasses, Old man. This was a consumers boycott of the business, not the government. In a democratic society, when you don't like what a business is doing, you boycott them, you don't call in the government to shut them down.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

LoL something about SK having more freedom of speech... only in some alternate universe and they think there will be a smooth transition to a United Korea...I want what they are smoking cause it must be potent...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The video also refers to Venezuela's crippling economy, where "women are going into prostitution for mere seven dollars", and adds that South Korea is not far from meeting a similar fate.

Probably more about THIS than anything to do with Japan! The issue of prostitution, Korea, and Japan, is a sensitive subject to say the least, and to infer that the women of Korea are facing it, is a slap in the face to their pride.

At any other time, THIS would have been the headline!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

With relations the way they are now, you even utter the word "Japan" in Korea and you are liable to need cosmetic surgery.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I was wondering why SK are so fired up by this event, then I read that 20% of South Korea's GDP is from Samsung, the country and the rest of the people exist pretty much to support Samsung's economic activity, it's little wonder that Japan's move is taken as "personal" to most Koreans, we're literally threatening their means to life.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

S. Korean Government must take responsible and honor treaty with Japan which singed agreement by two Governments leaders.

The S. Korean President Moon Jae-in's insisting for Japanese Government to share forced labor compensation scheme has losing billion of dollars for S. Korean Hi-tech manufacturers due to Japanese Government export ban for high-tech materials.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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