South Koreans boycott Japan beer in brewing trade row


Beer-loving South Koreans angered by a trade row with Tokyo are boycotting Japanese brews in a surge of patriotism that has even seen popular beauty bloggers targeted.

Japan this month unveiled tough restrictions on exports crucial to tech titans like Samsung, fuelling fears about the impact on the global tech sector, while South Korea’s central bank warned it could have “no small impact” on the economy.

Officials from both countries have held hours of terse talks to settle the worsening crisis but there has so far been no sign of a detente.

But beer drinkers in the South are making their fury known, shunning four big Japanese brands in favour of other brews, according to E-Mart, the country’s largest hypermarket chain.

Sales of Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory beer fell nearly 25 percent in the first two weeks of July compared with the second half of June, it said.

“This is a sudden drop we haven’t seen for a long time,” an E-Mart official told AFP, adding that sales of Korean beer brands were up around seven percent in the same period.

The trade spat is the latest escalation in a bitter decades-long feud over Japan’s use of forced labour during World War II.

It has sparked ire in South Korea, where almost seven in 10 people still report negative feelings towards the country’s former colonial ruler.

Meanwhile around 3,700 members of a South Korean grocery store owner association have stopped orders of some or all Japanese products.



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