The South Korean boycott campaign has seen Japanese beer exports to the country wiped out, while shipments of instant noodles and sake have also taken a hit Photo: AFP
business

Japanese beer exports to S Korea fall to zero

86 Comments
By Jung Yeon-je

Not a single drop of Japanese beer was exported to South Korea last month, according to official figures on Thursday, as a boycott campaign against Japan over a historical dispute dries up demand.

Japanese beer shipments to South Korea stood at 7.9 billion yen ($72 million) last year, accounting for more than 60 percent of the country's global exports of the amber nectar.

But the finance ministry in Tokyo said exports had plunged to zero, as the two countries remain locked in a dispute over trade and Japanese war-time atrocities.

Already in September, year-on-year exports had fallen 99 percent, dealing a blow to Japanese brewers such as Kirin, Asahi and Sapporo.

A Kirin Holdings spokesman declined to comment, saying only: "We are watching developments."

Exports of Japanese instant noodles and sake to South Korea have also plummeted.

Ties began a downward spiral after a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate war-time forced labor victims.

This infuriated Tokyo, with Japan insisting the matter was settled in a 1965 treaty normalising diplomatic relations between the two countries, which included significant reparations.

The historic dispute morphed into a trade spat between the two market economies, as Japan removed South Korea from a so-called "white list" of countries that enjoyed streamlined export control procedures.

South Korea hit back with similar trade restrictions and a decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing pact, surprising analysts who thought defense ties would be immune from the diplomatic row.

Last week, however, South Korea decided against scrapping the military pact, in a 11th-hour U-turn, and the two countries agreed to hold a summit in China next month.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

86 Comments
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Not a single drop of Japanese beer was exported to South Korea last month, according to official figures on Thursday, as a boycott campaign against Japan over a historical dispute dries up demand.

Have no fear, I have been doing my part to ensure that the Japanese beer companies dont go bankrupt! I am doing my patriotic duty to drink more Japanese beer!

Anyone else want to help?

38 ( +49 / -11 )

Such a petty act, and it wont hurt Japanese brewers one bit. Now SK citizens have to drink awful Korea brewed beer, whilst mouthwatering Japanese beer like Asahi and Kirin is exported to nations who can not get enough.

Grow up Korea.

15 ( +43 / -28 )

Beer & politics should never mix. Unless the politicians are drinking beer - then they might make better decisions. Even better if it's Japanese beer... because it's wonderful.

18 ( +29 / -11 )

Whatever your view on SK is, you have to admit this is an impressive result.

7 ( +32 / -25 )

That’s what happens when politicians poke their noses in.

So Korea doesn’t choose to import Japanese beer (their right to make that decision), then developed alternative markets.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

@Yubaru

More Asahi for us, and more Cass for the South Koreans!!

21 ( +31 / -10 )

I don’t buy Korean mess. Especially scamsong. So there.

15 ( +27 / -12 )

If only these 2 countries knew that, if they were to... "cooperate", they'd arguably be the most powerful duo in the world, from a cultural, technological, and econony perspective.

Sigh...

1 ( +18 / -17 )

Such a petty act, and it wont hurt Japanese brewers one bit. 

Let's see just how incorrect you are. From the article:

Japanese beer shipments to South Korea stood at 7.9 billion yen ($72 million) last year, accounting for more than 60 percent of the country's global exports of the amber nectar.

Losing well over half your exports definitely won't hurt one bit. A fine display of Japanese "logic."

-2 ( +28 / -30 )

Such a petty act, and it wont hurt Japanese brewers one bit. Now SK citizens have to drink awful Korea brewed beer,

While I agree that Korean beer is awful, and Japan brews a pretty decent pioneer style lager, it will hurt Japanese brewers. They will simply brew less - the brewers brew to meet contractual demand. They do not brew it and then decide which lucky country will get to drink it.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Good news! Yet another proof that the two countries can live without each other. No need to worry about Japanese beer brewers. They will find new markets in other countries.

20 ( +27 / -7 )

Hard to give a crap about Japanese companies being shut out of markets when they keep Japan closed off to the rest of the world. SK can now move on to many wonderful beers made around the world. Cheers!

-10 ( +14 / -24 )

Gee, I guess there is an actual cost to all these nationalist morons taking a hardline on the wartime slavery issue and insisting Japan did nothing wrong after all.

Unfortunately it is Japan’s innocent brewers, rather than said morons, who are paying that cost.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Who cares, grow up South Korea!

15 ( +30 / -15 )

You have to admire the South Korean civil society. Japanese people have a lot to learn from them. In fact, some of the Japanese anti-Abe movement people do cite Koreans as a good example quite often on Twitter.

-23 ( +7 / -30 )

One thing that SK and JP have in common is awful mainstream beer! Even Heineken and Carlsberg are better. As for craft, I've had some from both countries (I actually live next to a brewery in Japan) and I have to say the Koreans do actually do it a little better, haven't had a bad one yet from them. I don't understand why but Japanese brews often overemphasise the hops and the ingredients don't gel together so it's like they've just been mixed in separately.. .

Anyway, if Japan wants wants to export to other places they'll have to up their game. You can't sell beer on image, it's got to be GOOD!

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Japanese beer is better. If the South Koreans want to be idiots and pass up on good beer - well, it’s their loss.

15 ( +26 / -11 )

Who cares? Take a look at the profits of Asahi etc. South Korea is none factor.

13 ( +27 / -14 )

I suppose there are, in South Korea, some consumers who, for whatever reason, want to drink Japanese beer, but who are intimidated by the prospect of being accused of being "unpatriotic" for violating the boycott. I don't see the same thing happening with the Japanese patrons at my local yakiniku establishment, who continue to imbibe Korean Jinro (shochu) with gusto. Every bus and train I take in the Tokyo area displays station names in hangul for the convenience of Korean visitors. Are free trade and free choice, and freedom to travel --- freed from nationalism --- such terrible things?

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Well, 2 can play at that game! Cancel all K-pop concerts and all their crappy dramas and see who stand to loose more money! Japan can do just fine without the purchasing of beer there, but S Korea relies heavily on dramas and Kpop as a source of income.

16 ( +26 / -10 )

$72 million? Yikes, thats a big hit tbh. I wonder with the extra amount of beer need to be sold, the prices in Japan will drop because 200 a can is robbery.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

It seems boycotting things would change anything maybe SK want. Many Koreans actually love Japanese beers in their mind but they boycott and don't drink them before own people. They used to enjoy Japanese beers in parties and own houses. Their mind of boycotting makes their life miserable/pitiful as a result.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

this really goes to show you how brainwashed people are in SK, and how easily they can be manipulated by the gov't.

youth unemployment rates are at an all-time high, small and medium-sized firm bankruptcies are increasing, a steeply declining birth-rate, etc, but the gov't has the public's attention focused on war time pay for perhaps a few dozen workers (and a few thousand family members).  and you guys think japanese people are sheep.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Have no fear, I have been doing my part to ensure that the Japanese beer companies dont go bankrupt! I am doing my patriotic duty to drink more Japanese beer!

Same here! In fact, I think there should be a law passed giving us workers more money and time to support this SK ban by sending all salarymen and office workers to the izakayas to support the Japanese beer companies.

Anyone else want to help?

Kanpai brother!!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Japan does not need child nation Korea. So be it...

2 ( +11 / -9 )

It is unfortunate that politics are interfering with trade . . . while Japanese beer, (Sapporo, Kirin) has always been a favorite based on the quality, taste of the product.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

My friend is a manager at ARCO station in CA. I asked him how the Japanese beers are doing and he said hes been increasing stock every six months because people keep buying them. I also would recommend Japanese beer firms to promote in Mexico since Mexicans have been increasingly buying their beers. Replace the korean market with the Mexican market. Problem solved.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Have no fear, I have been doing my part to ensure that the Japanese beer companies dont go bankrupt! I am doing my patriotic duty to drink more Japanese beer!

Your stomach might explode from the gas.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

youth unemployment rates are at an all-time high, small and medium-sized firm bankruptcies are increasing, a steeply declining birth-rate, etc,

At Nakano guy. Post college graduation employment is at an all time high in Korea. Small and medium size bankruptcies are increasing around the entire world. Its what tax breaks for the rich and powerful firms does. Birthrate is declining in Japan as well.

this really goes to show you how brainwashed people are in SK, and how easily they can be manipulated by the gov't.

People in Japan would rather protest women only cars in trains versus the treatment from their employers. What's the difference?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Japanese exporters are exporting elsewhere, and South Koreans are left with no decent beer, excluding the microbreweries. This seems like a shoot yourself in the foot kind of protest.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Am guessing some businesses which privately imports Japaneses Beers in Korea are making a killing. The law of demand and supply !

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Whatever your view on SK is, you have to admit this is an impressive result.

Such widespread commitment would indeed be impressive if it was directed towards something positive. But the only thing that is impressive here is the ability of the South Korean authorities to brainwash their citizens...

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Erik MoralesToday  09:26 am JST

My friend is a manager at ARCO station in CA. I asked him how the Japanese beers are doing and he said hes been increasing stock every six months because people keep buying them. I also would recommend Japanese beer firms to promote in Mexico since Mexicans have been increasingly buying their beers. Replace the korean market with the Mexican market. Problem solved.

I believe the two big breweries (Asahi & Kirin) brews their beer in the US and Europe since they have a substantial market over there.

Only the small markets like SK do they export from Japan.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Who cares, grow up South Korea!

Nice punctuation. I would imagine the brewers who lost over 60% of their export market care.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

When it comes to trade wars and boycotts people seem to not understand that both sides are hurt. Even if Koreans are ordering less Japanese beers, it doesn't mean they are buying more of another beer which means businesses are also suffering.

Japan removing Korea from the white list also hurts Japan because Japan imports majority of their chips, OLCD screens, and more from Korea. So if Korean businesses have a hard time securing components it hurts Japanese businesses.

Finally, these government laws hurt consumers because businesses either disappear or increase prices to make up the slack. There is no winner or no one the wiser in these things.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Apparently Koreans are turning to European beers instead, especially Belgian & Dutch brews.

I'm not sure they are going to miss Japanese beer too much!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@ClippetyClop: SK market is too volatile, Japan should never rely on it and I think this experience will push them to find new markets. End of the drama, move on! This isn't newsworthy anymore...

5 ( +9 / -4 )

someone got drunk.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Apparently Koreans are turning to European beers instead, especially Belgian & Dutch brews.

I'm not sure they are going to miss Japanese beer too much!

@ ClippetyClop - European beer is so-so, some good, some bad. I have drunk most. Japanese beer has a much better flavor. Which is why the Koreans are only hurting themself.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Let's see just how incorrect you are. From the article:

Japanese beer shipments to South Korea stood at 7.9 billion yen ($72 million) last year, accounting for more than 60 percent of the country's global exports of the amber nectar.

Losing well over half your exports definitely won't hurt one bit. A fine display of Japanese "logic."

Let's play that the other way around. The Japanese domestic beer market is something like 15 billion USD. Overseas sales are primarily brewed overseas under license. The actual export market, as in shipping beer from Japan, is small. It is not an export dependent market at all.

72 million of 15 billion is about 0.5%. And since net profits on exports are much less than net profits on domestic sale, we might guess that the total loss to Japanese brewers is a small fraction of 1%.

Claiming that this tiny dent is significant is a fine display of wishful anti-Japan "logic." Lots of industries do very well without any exports at all - and Japanese beer is one of them.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

So childish. Well, they share the same DNA as their NK neighbor. What do you think? This is not a surprise.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

European beer is so-so, some good, some bad. I have drunk most. Japanese beer has a much better flavor. 

This tells me that you haven't drunk much of it. Japanese beer is very drinkable and refreshing, but taste is something it doesn't have much of.

But let's be honest, if it was brewed from dishwater you'd think the same.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Anyone else want to help?

I will for sure, beer it is for the weekend.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

 European beer is so-so, some good, some bad. I have drunk most. Japanese beer has a much better flavor.

You have no idea what you are talking out. The Japanese beer is absolutely flavorless. In fact it does not have much taste similarly to most of Japanese food itself. It is made mainly to be consumed as a refreshing drink or for just getting drunk, and all Japanese beer makers do essentially the same beer.

European beers are vastly superior, there is just no comparison. The amount of different beers with very different flavors is great and there are beers with great taste. It taste good.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

European beer is so-so, some good, some bad. I have drunk most. Japanese beer has a much better flavor

You’ve drunk most European beer? I doubt that, cobber. If you are talking about the bog standard Heineken or Carlsberg, they pretty much match the generic fizzy lagers of Asahi and Kirin. If you are talking about ales, stouts, IPAs and the like, European beers blow the Japanese stuff out of the water although I hear Japanese beers have improved in terms of variety and quality in recent years.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Sad Korean guy picking up another carton of Cass:

"Can I buy Asahi again now...??"

Looks at sign in shop*

JAPANESE PRODUCTS - NO BUYING!!!

Korean guy: sigh.... I guess I'll have to get the Vietnamese brewed Asahi off Amazon...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Funny, in other news, you see "old enemies" of Japan being in a honeymoon phase with it, while they are boycotting another place:

https://www.bangkokpost.com/travel/1801144/chinese-tourism-to-japan-hits-record-highs

Relationships between Countries are like that... volatile. Deal with it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Of course this will effect their economy

I know the right wingers hate Koreans but it’s a fact that the two economies are strongly tight to each other.

Most Asashi market abroad is for Asia not for us Europeans certainly.

Japanese beer is good of course but honestly with all the high quality of selection we have back home such kind of “exotic” beers are a niche.

And for Gambare,I seriously doubt your statements.

Have you tried Franziskaner? Weißbier?

Kölsch? Or Adler?

That is the problem with nationalistic people,no matter what their products are always the best.

But it was the germans that thought you to brew bier in Tchingtao.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

@William: it's not a problem because Asia is huge and there are other markets. These articles are made to support the idea that a close relationship between SK and Japan is indispensable, but the truth is that economically they can replace each other in any moment. It's in the strategic US interests that it's "indispensable".

5 ( +8 / -3 )

commanteerToday  11:26 am JST

*The Japanese domestic beer market is something like 15 billion USD**. Overseas sales are primarily brewed overseas under license. The actual export market, as in shipping beer from Japan, is small. It is not an export dependent market at all.*

72 million of 15 billion is about 0.5%. And since net profits on exports are much less than net profits on domestic sale, we might guess that the total loss to Japanese brewers is a small fraction of 1%.

Claiming that this tiny dent is significant is a fine display of wishful anti-Japan "logic."

Correct.

Just want to underline that the South Korean market - while handy to have as an export destination for beer - is simply not worth worrying about in terms of lost profits. Yes, it's a loss... but it's like losing a golf ball in a pond... you'd like to have it to use for next time but it's just one of 20 golf balls you have.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Here you always see articles about SK boycotting hurting Japanese economy and tourists but you barely see articles like this:

https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/3037517/chinese-tourists-fill-gap-left-south-koreans-flights-japan-hit

Confirmation about the thesis in my earlier post.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

hurting Japanese economy and tourism*

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Whatever your view on SK is, you have to admit this is an impressive result.

It's a shame it's for such a petty thing, but yes, I completely agree. It shows what consumers can do.

It's a pity people can't do the same thing to right much bigger wrongs, international firms not paying taxes, rainforest destruction, suicide from overwork in Japan, etc. Widespread boycotts were a factor in ending apartheid in South Africa, so they can bring change.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While the 60% didn't go to SK, it surely went to other country's whom were more than happy to see the rise to fill their many thirsty customers. So to settle it once and for all it helped the Japanese brewers a lot more than had it stayed the same. In fact their sales went sky high due to the demand being made at other countries.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Same here! In fact, I think there should be a law passed giving us workers more money and time to support this SK ban by sending all salarymen and office workers to the izakayas to support the Japanese beer companies.

Wasn't "Premium Friday" for this?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Beer autodafe, no good.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'll pick up the slack. I much prefer Japanese beer to Korean beers that I have tried.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan taught it's one time colonials well.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

So childish. Well, they share the same DNA as their NK neighbor. What do you think? This is not a surprise.

In population genetic studies, the Japanese is thought to have skull structure close to the Koreans and share DNA. It’s why these two are always fighting, sibling rivalry.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

While Japanese imports of Korean beer remain close to zero???

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The only excuse for not drinking excellent Japanese beer is that Korea also produces some excellent beer.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

the amber nectar

I like this description.

Husband: Get me another amber nectar, would you, honey?

Exports of Japanese instant noodles and sake to South Korea have also plummeted.

I'll bet the Japanese beer, noodle and sake makers are pissed at both sides in this political dispute.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You have to wonder how much of this is genuine anti-Japan sentiment, and how much is the result of a fear of being seen to be unpatriotic....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

is that Korea also produces some excellent beer.

care to name one, for reference? i can only name one Korean beer off the top of my head--Hite--and it is the opposite end of the spectrum to 'excellent'...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Ganbare Japan.

Mouthwatering beer like Asahi and Kirin? Haha. Yeah right.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Asahi puts the ‘water’ into mouthwatering.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

European beer is so-so, some good, some bad. I have drunk most. Japanese beer has a much better flavor. Which is why the Koreans are only hurting themself.

This coming from the person who claims Beaujolais Nouveau is quality, fine wine too! Explains your lack of taste!

Japanese beer is mostly ale or lager type, and while Kirin, Asahi, and the rest do have good beers, you know SQUAT about "better" flavor if you think European beer is "so-so!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Comanteer: Thanks for the figures.

Overseas sales are primarily brewed overseas under license. 

These are not considered exports.

Claiming that this tiny dent is significant is a fine display of wishful anti-Japan "logic." 

Uhhh . . . I didn't claim that losing over half the export market would make a significant dent in the profits of the brewers. My assertions were (1) it would harm Japanese brewers anc (2) that the brewers would care. Nice reading comprehension.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Wow. So many comments about what consumers in another country should spend their money on. Some of you reminds me of a grumpy old lady shop-owner hurling insults on my way out without buying anything. What a really mature business woman she was! Last time I checked, that shop shut down. :)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Yubaru, I agree with you! Lets drink more Japanese beer to keep the industry alive.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What they drinking in SK? squeezing Delivrans lan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not commenting on the dispute, but it just shows how South Koreans are very loyal to their country and fellow countrymen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ok. Now what? Is Korea the only other country that imports Japanese beer?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese beer is garbage, led by three companies which just slightly recycle old ingrédients and call it "premium" or put sakura on the cans in spring. THere's little to know diversity, and barely any taste. If you DO find a decent microbrew it costs a fortune. But, the only beer that is worse than Japanese beer in the near vicinity is Korean beer -- which is the "Coors light" of Asia. So, it's ultimately Korea's loss more than anything, unless they import more Singha and Tiger, which is slightly above Japanese beer. They do import a lot of Heineken.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Japanese beers and franchise restaurant around the world. Don't see Korean like that.

Plus Japanese bbq (chunky meat) is far better than Korean bbq (thin layer), you choose.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I do not like beer so much, but I loved local ale beer in Japan, especially in the Sapporo area. Admittedly, the lager beer brands mass-produced in S. Korea are the worst in the world. Therefore I never drink lager. I sometimes drink the following Korean local ale or IPA: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/south-korea-craft-beer-magpie-brewing/index.html

The best alcohol beverage from Japan to me is Sweet potato shōchū (芋焼酎, imojōchū), which never has been officially imported to S. Korea.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wonder the extent to which there are zero imports of Korean beer to Japan anyway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm tired of Japanese beer - it's so bland, time for other Nations to export their beer to S. Korea and Japan.... (though Japan slaps heavy duties upon Foreign beers - so perhaps it's time for a Beer War)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Inkochi - Daiei Supermarket imports Korean beer.... currently .... to Japan.

It's a slightly different taste to Japanese Beer, but in my opinion is just as bad, Asia as a whole, does not understand Beer and Larger, so what has been produced here todate, is simply lacking in appeal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Losing well over half your exports definitely won't hurt one bit. A fine display of Japanese "logic."

If you think the Korean exports were half of the business exports of Japanese beer exports, you clearly have no idea about Japanese business!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Something seems odd about shops posting signs telling people not to buy thier product. I believe most South Koreans could care less about the boycott. The reason these boycotts are so successful is because it's so in your face it's basically being forced on people. No one wants to be that one guy that buys a Japanese beer when even the shop is telling you not to buy it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's a slightly different taste to Japanese Beer, but in my opinion is just as bad, Asia as a whole, does not understand Beer and Larger, so what has been produced here todate, is simply lacking in appeal.

A bit harsh. I get the sense many Asian countries see mass-produced beer as simply a fizzy, refreshing drink which isn’t a bad thing - Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Singaporean, Indonesian beers are slight variations on a theme.

They are more boring than bad. I’ve had Bintang, Asahi, Tiger, 333 and the like and they are pretty similar but not bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I contributed my bit for the country this weekend.

S.Korea’s loss is S.Korea’s loss!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Please don’t feel sorry for the Koreans as they produce several beers and one brewery produces some tasty craft beers which I can personally say taste great!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Jimizo - I'm being realistic not harsh - Beer in Asia at present is like that of the type within the pre-fall of Communism within Eastern Europe, where everything had to be the same (I had the same thoughts back then too...).

Even now, in japan where the copies of IPA are coming out of "local" houses, are lacking in distinction - there's even no difference between said houses - which is probably fueling the demand for non-beers which have distinctive tastes and higher alcohol content.... so where will that take people ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So childish. Well, they share the same DNA as their NK neighbor. What do you think? This is not a surprise.

Uh what? If I am not mistaken Japanese population and Korean population share close DNA. It's like 80% similar.

And since we are at the topic of beer. Japanese beer I could never understand its popularity.

During my years in Japan I had the pleasure of seeing European and American come to Japan and drink Japanese domestic beer and telling me it tastes like crap. Must be Japanese marketing for Koreans even to import that much to start with.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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