Poll suggests more South Koreans may join boycott of Japanese goods

12, Jul. 2019

SEOUL, NNA – In the wake of the latest dispute with Japan over wartime forced labor, a recent survey suggests more South Koreans might be willing to join a boycott of Japanese goods.

South Korean pollster Realmeter conducted the telephone survey on Wednesday of 11,619 people aged 19 or over. The pollster said 501 people responded and 67 percent of those said they would join the boycott, while 27 percent said they would not.

There are concerns the boycott, mainly in the retail sector, could spread to automobiles and tourism.

In the survey, 48 percent of respondents said they were already avoiding buying Japanese goods, while 46 percent said they were not.

Last week, Tokyo tightened guidelines on the export to South Korea of three materials crucial to making chips for smartphones and screens, an apparent protest against a decision last year by the South Korean supreme court requiring Japanese firms to compensate South Koreans forced into labor during World War Two.

Tokyo claims the restrictions are due to loose controls in South Korea on the export of sensitive goods, such as hydrogen fluoride, a key substance in chip making that can also be used as a chemical weapon. Seoul has denied this claim.