A group of Japanese protesters gathered near the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday,… urging Shinzo Abe to immediately stop Japan's export curbs on South Korea.
They waved banners reading "No Abe" and a photo of a statue representing the victims of Japan's wartime sexual slavery, which was recently ordered by Japanese officials to be removed from a global art festival taking place in the country.
"We are furious about what the Abe administration is doing right now."
Protesters says the tightened exports of key materials to South Korea and Seoul's recent removal from a whitelist of trusted export destinations was a move by Abe to retaliate over compensation for Japan's wartime forced labor of Koreans.
"The move seems to be retaliation against South Korea's ruling on wartime forced labor."
They also voiced concern that the export curbs against South Korea will only create economic instability in both countries, eventually coming back to bite Japan.
"Both South Korea and Japan will be hurt. This is not good for Japan or for companies here."
Some said the retaliation against South Korea could be driven by fear about what Abe saw in its neighbor,… with the current South Korean administration achieving democratic reform through what's famously known as the 'candlelight revolution', which unseated South Korea's former corrupt president.
Thursday's anti-Abe protest wasn't the first in Japan.
A few days ago, roughly 200 demonstrators gathered near Tokyo's crowded Shinjuku station to condemn the export restrictions, and to support the anti-Abe protests held in Seoul.
As relations between Seoul and Tokyo continue to deteriorate due to Abe's retaliation against South Korea,… it has fueled anti-Abe sentiment in Japan among those unhappy with the prime minister's treatment of South Korea.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.