Image via Twitter of Rep. Min Byung-doo of the ruling Democratic Party

Enraged Koreans urge gov’t to boycott 2020 Olympics in Japan

The political standoff between Seoul and Tokyo shows no signs of letting up as the two sides are staging a tit-for-tat fight, which started last month when the latter came up with export curbs of key materials to the former.

Crying foul at Japan’s unprecedented measure, Korea brought the case to the World Trade Organization. Enraged Koreans started boycotting made-in-Japan products and services ranging from automobiles, cigarettes, beers, pens, and cameras to movies.

But Japan has gone ahead with the procedure of restricting exports of high-tech materials to Korea, which are used to make semiconductors and flat-panel displays – Korea’s two major export items.

The step, which came due to a growing dispute between the two neighbors over wartime forced labor issues, prompted some Koreans to launch a campaign of boycotting the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Believing Japan crossed the line, many Koreans were at first emotional as they wanted to show the world their hard will against the export curbs.

But a rising number of Koreans take issue with the ongoing radioactive contamination of parts of Japan due to the nuclear catastrophe of Fukushima. In 2011, multiple nuclear meltdowns took place in the city.

Japan, which strives to show that the country bounced back from the nuclear disaster, plans to start the Olympic torch relay in Fukushima. In addition, it is set to host baseball and softball games there.

Against this backdrop, many Koreans talk about boycotting next year’s sporting event not because of the ongoing diplomatic conflict but because of concerns about nuclear radioactivity.

Their rationale: Despite sweat and blood of the athletes who have prepared the Olympics over the past years, it would not be worth their lives.

A petition was filed to the presidential house online board early July, which got more than 10,000 agreements from people.

Politicians are also hinting at the possibility of the nation’s boycotting the Olympics as lawmakers from the governing party continue to put the issues on their lips.

Outside of Korea, some also claim that Tokyo should not hold one of the greatest events in the world next to the greatest nuclear fallout sites so that exposing their own people and our athletes to dangerous levels of radiation.

Others came up with similar voices with different reasons – they urge Japan to stop hunting dolphins and whales.


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The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.