politics

Calls for boycott of Japan grow in S Korea as labor row simmers

52 Comments
By Joyce Lee

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52 Comments

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I highly doubt that the Korean people are behind this. Usually when you see pictures of “news” like this, you’ll notice theres only 10-15 (paid / professional) “protestors”.

19 ( +26 / -7 )

Like you, many people are angry at the attitude of the S.Korean government, here in Japan. Please understand it, Mr..

9 ( +17 / -8 )

I like how Lotte is in that banner, isn't that one of Korea's biggest companies?

22 ( +24 / -2 )

And there the S. Korean's go.... falling for more Political machinations. 1965.... in today's money, Japan paid a very large amount of money to them. They took the money, added to infrastructure and grew existing companies into large corporations. S. Korea felt that, instead of compensating individuals, this would be best for the country. Now, over 50 years later, they're coming for more. Its not like this is the first time either, countless, countless number of times they've asked for apologies and money. These people should be suing their own government, not Japan.

31 ( +36 / -5 )

I agree with thepersoniamnow. Looks too flashing and few people. Staged for sure.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

@Madden Lotte is a company founded by Koreans living in Japan. They had been brought over during the war as slave labor but there was no money to get them back after the war. So they stayed in Shin-okubo, where they set up Lotte. The main Lotte factory was in Shin-okubo (it was recently torn down). Then they expanded to Korea. There is a lively Korea Town in Shin-okubo. Lots of crazy delicious food.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

What a waste of a nice sunny day.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

If they stay home and won't travel to Japan anymore it wouldn't be a bad thing as the Koreans aren't much better then the Chinese when it is about manners ...

Those people are so stupid, if you look at the picture they all look like they haven't even been born when this was settled more then 60 years ago ! now they come up and protest, that's so stupid. I don't get what they gain from this -.-V

Japan should stop selling stuff there and just use the new JEFTA tready and ship all their stuff to Europ ... probably a much bigger Market then South Korea

7 ( +14 / -7 )

If Japan really wants to irk the SK people, stop supplying anything to do with cosmetics or cosmetic surgery then you're sure to see real protests in the streets

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Lotte is a company founded by Koreans living in Japan. They had been brought over during the war as slave labor but there was no money to get them back after the war. So they stayed in Shin-okubo, where they set up Lotte.

Which makes the sign laughably ironic. To show their support for Korean victims of Japan, they want to boycott a successful company built by Koreans who were used as slave labor in Japan.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@personiamnow

Sadly, there are extremists on all sides of the spectrum. Extremists help promote stories and make people pay attention. Doesn’t always matter what the many or average do or care about.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Help educate me Japan:

Besides a loss of pride, what is the worst that can happen if Japan apologizes (again)? I never seem to read a news story which covers this topic.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

That's Koreans for you. They go out of their way to pick a fight, and then when somebody hits them back they blubber like babies. The expression "to cut off one's nose to spite one's face" was custom made for them.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

One more thing, I see lots of comments about the large numbers of Korean tourists here. That is a serious misconception. If you look at the data regarding destinations, a significant number of Koreans only take overnight ferries from Pusan to Nagasaki's Tsushima Island, where they buy everything that isn't nailed down. In other words, many Korean visitors have no interest in Japan, don't stay long and don't patronize tourist destinations.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Besides a loss of pride, what is the worst that can happen if Japan apologizes (again)? I never seem to read a news story which covers this topic.

In the real world, apologies = liability. Apologies that are not very carefully planned and coordinated (quietly, of course) are outright dangerous to countries, and a national leader who makes one without the most careful consideration of national interests (such as from the "goodness" of his heart) is little more than a traitor.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

In the real world, apologies = liability. Apologies that are not very carefully planned and coordinated (quietly, of course) are outright dangerous to countries, and a national leader who makes one without the most careful consideration of national interests (such as from the "goodness" of his heart) is little more than a traitor.

Since sometime after Koizumi, the news cycle seems to be gummed up with this apology issue. Post WWII Germany seems to have navigated those waters well. What kind of liability are we talking about?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

If they stay home and won't travel to Japan anymore it wouldn't be a bad thing as the Koreans aren't much better then the Chinese when it is about manners ...

Do not tar people with the same brush. There are Chinese and Korean tourists who have bad manners but they are the minorities. Some Japanese tourists have bad manners, too. By the way Korean tourists accounts for a quarter of the total oversea tourists visiting Japan in 2018. Together with the Chinese tourists it is half of the total. Many businesses are going to be hit hard if there is a boycott.

Japan should stop selling stuff there and just use the new JEFTA tready and ship all their stuff to Europ ... probably a much bigger Market then South Korea

LOL! What are the Europeans going to do with the LED screen making materials and other high tech electronic components? Japan exports lots of high tech components overseas to Korea and China for manufacturing electronic products, eg the smart phones. Can u name a Japanese electrical bands whose products are made in Japan? They are all made outside Japan now and they cannot even compete against those European, Korean bands and even Chinese brands in many markets.

Japan is not donating things to Korea, it makes billions selling them. What business is stupid enough to pull out of a well established market? Do you think they are not already selling to Europe if they can?

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

In Korea, Sincere apology means DOGEZA =How they behaved toward Chinese Master for 1000 yrs=Willy Brandt style +

+Japanese diet SORRY resolution+legalize criminal offense for the ones who deny Korean narratives+ Obey whatever Korean says for 1000 years.

Whoever comes from West, Lucky you not annexing the peninsula.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

significant number of Koreans only take overnight ferries from Pusan to Nagasaki's Tsushima Island, where they buy everything that isn't nailed down. In other words, many Korean visitors have no interest in Japan, don't stay long and don't patronize tourist destinations.

Are they not contributing to the economy of Nagasaki's Tsushima Island? What is actually mean 'significant number'?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

That's Koreans for you. They go out of their way to pick a fight, and then when somebody hits them back they blubber like babies. The expression "to cut off one's nose to spite one's face" was custom made for them.

LOL! Such bias view towards the Koreans. In my own view Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are very similar. They are all flawed but are strong. After World War 2 if you said in 70 years these 3 countries would become economic powerhouses in the world people would said you are crazy. By the way, in case you think I am racist I am Chinese.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

gokai_wo_manekuToday  05:18 pm JST

@Madden Lotte is a company founded by Koreans living in Japan. They had been brought over during the war as slave labor but there was no money to get them back after the war. So they stayed in Shin-okubo, where they set up Lotte.

No, the founder of Lotte was no slave laborer. He emigrated from Korea to Japan (illegally) voluntarily in 1922. At a time when there was no such thing as "foreced labor". You are living up to your sign on name.

"Shin Kyuk-Ho was born in Ulsan, Japanese Korea in 1922. In 1941, he stowed away on a ship to Japan, where he studied chemical engineering at Waseda University. He adopted the Japanese name Takeo Shigemitsu and opened a rice cooker manufacturing plant in 1942.[2] After the plant was destroyed during an air raid, Shin founded Lotte in 1948, which grew from selling chewing gum to becoming a major multinational corporation."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shin_Kyuk-ho

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Small band of protestors : "Please ban these Japanese companies you see on the boxes in front of us!"

Said companies: "Thanks for the free advertising!"

Protestors : "Wait...wut?"

8 ( +10 / -2 )

At least they are sensible enough to blame the Japanese government, wheres in Japan, nobody makes that distinction. They don't even distinguish between right-wing Koreans vs non right-wing Koreans. Government vs the larger public. All Koreans are just lumped in a box with the label "Korea" on it, and then they get angry when people do the same for them. Reminds me of another island nation on the other side of the Eurasian continent.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

A boycott is the most immediate way for citizens to express their anger," said Choi Gae-yeon of the activist group Movement for One Korea, 

Only a small handful of people from an not well known activist group is promoting this idea and people are posting hateful comments against all Koreans.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Here's a thought... Why don't China and SK just accept the apologies as they were given and move on? Who cares what the DIET members say - it's not official policy. It's a bit like Boris Johnson calling Muslim women mail boxes - that isn't UK government's opinion it's just one idiot. All SK have to do is accept the apologies from 1965 and just shut up about it.

There's a rule here at work, we don't talk about race, religion or politics. Maybe China, SK and China need one to stop talking about the war?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

There is a reason why SK, China and Japan can never get along and move on. Is not only about pride and money. Is also mostly because of politics too. These government need this hatred to keep their country going strong. Each country has their own massive problems. The human mind work very simple. As long there is a scape goat for them to vent, they can ignore most other problems in life. If there is peace, people would spend their mind thinking about other things and that is something government don’t want you too. Without this hostility, people aren’t more motivated to work and strive to improve their economy and military. People will complain about many harsh things happening to them in life if there is no enemy to focus on. SK,China and Japan is using the past as a tool to keep public support on their side.

If SK just move on, the citizens would just vent their frustration on their own government about lack of jobs, poor pays, military service etc. Basically the military sector would die out. So you can’t just say to any of these countries to just move on from all this hatred. Even Japan would then face large protests about removing US troops and cutting down on it’s military and navy forces. Every nation need a enemy if they want to keep developing strong. Is normal and common since ancient time. A nation without a imaginary enemy would just slowly stagnant.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I really wished Japan, South Korea and China would put aside their differences instead of bickering about events, tragic as they were, which happened more than 70 years ago.

I would much rather see them improve their relationship and form a strong alliance to compete with the other power blocks on this globe because those other power blocks are now the laughing third party behind the scenes, something about divide and conquer you know…

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan , pls say SORRY and pay up.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

At least they are sensible enough to blame the Japanese government, wheres in Japan, nobody makes that distinction. They don't even distinguish between right-wing Koreans vs non right-wing Koreans. Government vs the larger public.

You realize you just did what you criticized the Japanese people for. You lumped all Japanese without distinguishing between them into the same box.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

A very misleading and sensationalized headline. ‘Korea’ is not calling for a boycott of Japanese goods. Only a few radicals are.

The history between these these two countries is quite dark and, for the most part, Korea was the victim. However, there has been no trouble between these two countries for over seventy years. It is Korea who keeps the old wounds open. Perhaps it was a bad move by japan to stop export of technologies, but the reality is, Korea could not survive without Japanese goods.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I do understand that Japan is angry, the war ended almost 75 years ago! But following the american model and only using economic sanctions to express its anger is a bad idea.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

You realize you just did what you criticized the Japanese people for. You lumped all Japanese without distinguishing between them into the same box.

I have never seen a Japanese who makes that distinction. Maybe they exist somewhere, but the fact that i haven't seen one means that the vast majority of them aren't like that, especially the ones actively talking about the dispute between the two countries.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Each country has their own massive problems. The human mind work very simple. As long there is a scape goat for them to vent, they can ignore most other problems in life.

Can't tell me where he's wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm confused... most of this stuff is made in China.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"South Korea imported $54.6 billion worth of goods from Japan in 2018, while also paying for $11.5 billion worth of its services."

Chump change to a US 6 trillion economy.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Thank you South Korea! You just handed PM Abe a landslide victory !

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Bring it on, Korea, bring it on. There is zero chance Korea can beat Japan in a trade war. Japan has so much vital technology, and an enormous trade surplus. This trade war will cripple Korean economy. The SK economy is already verging on a depression.

PM Abe will stare this down and not blink. And Trump will support Japan and PM Abe all the way, over Korea and crooked Moon.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Was wondering what took so long for these people to start protesting, just like clockwork.

The dispute is the latest flashpoint in a relationship long over-shadowed by South Korean resentment of Japan's 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula, in particular South Korean“comfort women”, a Japanese euphemism for women forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War Two.

Cookie cutter journalism at its finest when it comes to this subject.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Will they be boycotting Softbank too?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Let us look at the tape.

Japan GDP US 6 trillion

South Korea US 1.5 trillion

Good luck South Korea You are going to need it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Good grief, 75 years ago. Be more progressive look forward not backward.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

There is something I do not get : people talk about the fact that japanese government already pay and than things are settled since then between Japan and South Korean. But according to the article that as nothing to do with the current problem. A court decided that a private company : Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd to pay compensation to private individuals as they were forced laborers of the private group Sumitomo Metal Industries.

In the agreement in between the 2 countries, did they really thought of writing that private companies which take advantage of the system put in place by the government were not liable anymore ? Or was it just about the fact that Japan compensated enough for what the government did ?

Regarding 2WW, that will not be the first time a private company is sued regarding its behavior :

ttps://frenchly.us/us-france-settlement-sncf-holocaust-survivors-move-forward/

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Everybody should just calm down a little bit on both sides instead of riling eachother up for no good reason.

These are all political games played out at the highest level of which we only have very few details to try to make sense of.

Japan turning their back away from South Korea and vice versa is not a good idea seeing as we could both mutually benefit from eachother to great extent.

Remember if we fight with our neighbors others are just waiting around the corner to take advantage of that...

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@OssanJapan

He emigrated from Korea to Japan (illegally) 

Actually he had the Japanese citizenship and could migrate freely to Japan at the time. All Koreans had the Japanese citizenship, but most(I said most, not all) Koreans considered the Japanese citizenship an insult. Not so for Lotte's founder, at least he had the full right to abode in Japan like any other "Japanese" and even apply for government positions. Ditto for Kim Jong Un's grandfather, who ran a military supply factory in Japan and had a Japanese wife, whose daughter was Kim Jong Un's mother Ko Yong Hee. Kim Jong Un desperately tries to hide the fact that his grandmother was Japanese.

@Thunderbird2

Why don't China and SK just accept the apologies as they were given and move on?

Because Japan's not acting like it's sorry. Japan's apology merely a lip-service, like a criminal saying he's sorry just to reduce his sentence before the judge, but not sorry at all and will do it again.

@alwaysspeakingwisdom

Chump change to a US 6 trillion economy.

What Japanese semiconductor material suppliers are supplying to Korea is the last remnant of Japan's formerly glorious semiconductor industry, and this will be gone in 10 years thanks to Abe san. 

Recall that Japan's banning the supply of 7 nm EUV photoresist chemical to Korea, but Japan itself has no 7 nm fab to speak of.

@Ganbare Japan!

Bring it on, Korea, bring it on. There is zero chance Korea can beat Japan in a trade war.

It is the trade-deficit side that starts a trade-war, never the trade-surplus side. Abe san is helping to eliminate the trade-deficit that Korea runs against Japan.

Japan has so much vital technology, and an enormous trade surplus.

Which will be gone soon thanks to Abe san.

This trade war will cripple Korean economy.

Yes, I understand that's what Japan's conservatives believe. But that held true like 20 years ago, not today.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Two healthy, peaceful, neighbour and democratic G20 countries unable to sit and fix their historical issues for good.

What a kindergarten behaviour!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe san is helping to eliminate the trade-deficit that Korea runs against Japan.

He is also helping the intermediate which will jump in between the Japanese companies and the Korean ones. It will be the only ones gaining anything out of that. The Japanese companies are most likely to have to drop selling price and the Korean ones to increase buying price.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't change the past. Move forward already. Young ones are watching and will keep it going into their generation. Do we need that?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

1965 treaty, Economic aids and Technology transfer, Countless apologies, Asian women fund, 2015 comfort women agreement, Come on. Don't just put Japan together with Korea into the same box and judge both obsessed with the past. It's South Korea that keeps cursing, dragging Japan backwards.

On top of comfort women&forced labor issues, they still keep 2 jokers under the table, ready to use up

Atomic Bomb victims and Sakhalin detainees issue anytime now.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@mike1492

Can't change the past. Move forward already. Young ones are watching and will keep it going into their generation. Do we need that?

Yes, because those who forget past are bound to repeat it.

Japan already forgot its part of history and is repeating the same mistakes of the past that led Japan to its ruins. There is no hope of Japan prevailing in future military conflicts with either China or Korea, because China and Korea remember exactly where Japan made its mistakes but Japan doesn't remember.

This is why it is so critical that both the aggressor and the victim not forget the past. Germany is very clear about this and drills the history down in the heads of its next generations in order to never repeat the tragedy of Nazism and WW2. Japan doesn't and is bound to repeat its past tragedy.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

I hope everyone supporting the Japanese government and Japanese companies in this gets bilked for a year's wages and finds out their government got them and spent it all on statues in a park....cause that is basically what happened to those people....plus more and worse.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I am sure Abe is very happy to see that photo.

Congrats on his landslide victory in the upcoming election.

I am sure S. Korean government can not control those young jingoists.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Joe

Good grief, 75 years ago. Be more progressive look forward not backward.

The S, Korean plaintiffs are mostly surviving wartime labor victims, but some of them passed away during the past 2 decade civil lawsuits against both Japan and Korean government, and the Japanese companies in both Japanese and Korean courts.

Lee Won-soo, a 89-year-old survivor who said he worked at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd at age 16, said he had almost given up on receiving an apology from Japan and any compensation.

“I thought I was going to die, crushed and left alone, as no one had ever bothered to comfort me for my suffering under Japanese rule,” Lee told reporters.

“But now I believe the world won’t let it pass.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-forcedlabour-southkorea/thousand-koreans-sue-government-over-wartime-labor-at-japan-firms-idUSKCN1OJ0F7

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

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