The Small Local Sales Alliance, an association of South Korean shop owners, is calling on its members to boycott Japanese products, including cigarettes, liquor, and beer. This is in protest over what they perceive as Japan’s baseless claim to the Takeshima islands, known as Dokdo in South Korea.
The association claims that they have over a million members all over the country, including neighbourhood mini-marts, restaurants, pubs, and other stores. The alliance spokesman calls Japan’s claim as “ridiculous” and says that the boycott will have large significance if many of their members decide to join, since they are made up mostly of smaller and closely-knit neighborhood chapters. These smaller stores account for a large volume of Japanese products in South Korea, like cigarette brand Mild Seven or Asahi Beer.
Japan held a rally last week to promote its claim over the contested islets, an event that’s held annually since 2006. Amidst protests and demands from South Korea, the event pushed through last February 22, with 500 people joining the festivities, including Aiko Shimajiri, a parliamentary secretary in Tokyo’s Cabinet Office. On the same day, hundreds of activists held a protest rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul. This latest development has increased the tension between the two countries, a relationship that has been strained due to this territorial dispute and other contentious issues from Japan’s colonial rule over Korea from 1910-45.[ via AFP ]