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Growing number of people criticize Japan's export restrictions, boycott Japanese products Updated: 2019-07-10 04:20:08 KST

College students have been staging one-man protests in front of the Japanese embassy and other sites including offices of Japanese companies in Seoul to criticize Tokyo's restrictions on exports to Seoul.
These are seen as a means to retaliate against the ruling by Korea's top court that ordered Japanese companies like Nippon Steel, to compensate Korean nationals who were forced into labor during Japan's colonial rule.

"It has been 74 years since Korea was liberated from Japan but it doesn't make sense that victims of Japan's forced labor and other atrocities still don't get an official apology. I believe every Korean citizen should take part in fixing this. Korea-Japan ties will improve only when the historical issues are settled."

Public sentiment in Korea is growing more negative toward the Abe administration and an increasing number of people are criticizing Japan or boycotting their products to protest against Tokyo's tightening export restrictions for political reasons.
On the other hand, there are those who would prefer more rational and calm strategies, as a anti-Japanese sentiment may harm the Korean economy as well.

"What Japan has done is not good. It shouldn't respond to historical issues with trade restrictions. Those should be dealt with separately."

"People started a boycott of Japanese products, and they called for tourists to stop visiting Japan. But I think we should be more careful, especially in the long run."

Some experts say dialogue is imperative to fundamentally solve the trade issue, particularly to agree on a treaty aimed at the re-establishment of diplomatic ties signed between Seoul and Tokyo in 1965.

"The two governments haven't reached a consensus in terms of the interpretation of Article 1 and 2 of the treaty they signed in 1965. The Korean government should discuss this with Japan to narrow their differences."

"Not only politicians and business leaders but more regular citizens are expected to raise their voice over the issue, depending on how the situation unfolds.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News."
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