Uniqlo sales outlet in Korea/Courtesy of Uniqlo

Netizens keep criticizing Japanese casual wear maker

In Korea, people are canceling their trips to Japan and boycotting Japanese products ranging from cigarettes, beers, pens, cameras, and movies to automobiles.

The nationwide boycott of made-in-Japan products and services started early this month after Tokyo imposed curbs on exports of high-tech materials to Seoul on July 4.

In particular, Uniqlo becomes one of the primary targets after its chief financial officer said on July 11 that the boycott will not last long enough to affect its long-term sales.

The remarks enraged Korean consumers, who vowed not to visit shops of the Japanese casual wear manufacturer and retailer.

A week later, Uniqlo Korea apologized for the comments, but its measure fails to appease angry consumers and netizens.

The apology should come from Uniqlo’s head office in Japan, not from its branch in Korea. Hence, I think the company has not apologized, yet,” a Koran netizen said.

I am surprised to learn that Uniqlo has around 180 stores in Korea. I expect that the business would leave Korea,” another netizen said.

Things would get better once the frayed relationship between Korea and Japan gets back on track. But the conflict between the two sides shows no signs of letting up.

Amid a growing dispute between the two neighbors over wartime forced labor issues, Japan announced strict restrictions on exports of key high-tech materials.

Korean firms use them to make semiconductors and flat-panel displays, the two products that drive the country’s export-reliant economy.

In response to strong protests, Tokyo claimed that Seoul did not do enough to ensure Japanese chemicals and equipment cannot be shipped to rogue nations including Pyeongyang.

Countering that Japan had been much worse in the jobs, Korea thinks of striking back with retaliatory steps. Japan also considers coming up with further measures.

Against this backdrop, observers point out that Korean consumers are likely to continue their boycott to bring pain to Japanese firms like Uniqlo.


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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 voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.