Six million merchants in South Korea to boycott Japanese products

As many as 6 million merchants and mom-and-pop store owners in South Korea will join a nationwide campaign to boycott Japanese products to protest Japan’s claim over Korea’s Dokdo Islets. Members of the Save Local Stores Alliance, a group of mom-and-pop store owners will not deal with made-in-Japan products starting March 1, or Independence Movement Day which commemorates an uprising in 1919 against Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945). While there have been similar boycott campaigns organized by civic groups, it is expected to be the largest ever because other related groups, such as restaurant owners’ associations, will join.

Targeted products include Mild Seven cigarettes, Asahi beer, Nikon cameras, electronic products from Sony, clothes from Uniqlo, and vehicles from Toyota, Lexus and Honda. The alliance on Monday began distributing stickers to its members to put on the walls of their stores. The boycott may bring huge ripple effects considering other collective actions the groups have conducted previously: Last year, they refused to accept Samsung and Shinhan credit cards in protest against high commissions, eventually making card companies cut fees for mom-and-pop stores. They also played a key role in compelling the government to adopt the mandatory shutdown of large-sized discount chain stores on specific days of the month.

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