Seven in ten Koreans to participate in Japan boycott

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a press conference in Malaysia in March. Xinhua

AFPSEOUL (Xinhua) –Almost seven out of 10 South Koreans said they will participate in boycotting Japanese products, a poll showed yesterday, amid a trade row in which Japan imposed tighter control on its export to South Korea of materials key to the South Korean tech industry.

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According to the Realmeter survey, 66.8 percent said they will join the boycott campaign against goods from Japan in the future.

Among the total, 48 percent said they were currently taking part in the no-buy campaign against Japanese products, while 45.6 percent replied that they were not yet.

The survey results were based on a poll of 501 voters conducted Wednesday. It had plus and minus 4.4 percentage points in margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level.

The results came after Japan imposed stricter regulations last week on its export to South Korea of three materials vital to produce semiconductors and display panels used for TVs, smartphones and other tech products.

Some of South Korean netizens staged a boycott campaign against Japanese products in the cyberspace in a rage over Japan’s export curbs, coming in protest against the South Korean top court’s rulings over Japanese companies.

For the past eight months, the South Korean highest court ordered some of the major Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries among others, to compensate the South Korean victims of wartime forced labour.

South Korean historians said at least 700,000 Koreans were forced into hard labour without pay before and during World War II. The Korean Peninsula was colonised by Japan from 1910 to 1945.

Meanwhile, support for South Korean President Moon Jae-in declined 3.7 percentage points over the week to 47.6 percent this week on growing public worry about Japan’s export restrictions, a separate Realmeter poll showed.

The negative assessment on Mr Moon’s management of state affairs gained 3.7 percentage points to 47.5 percent this week.

The results were based on a survey of 1,502 voters conducted from Monday to Wednesday. It had plus and minus 2.5 percentage points in margin of error with a 95 percent confidence level.

Support for Mr Moon’s ruling Democratic Party dipped 2.3 percentage points to 38.1 percent this week, continuing to fall for the second consecutive week.

The main conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party posted 30.3 percent of support this week, up 2.4 percentage points from the previous week.

The minor progressive Justice Party won 7.4 percent of approval rating, followed by the minor conservative Bareun Future Party with 5.6 percent and the center-left Party for Democracy and Peace with 2.3 percent each.

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