|Seen is NoNo Japan's online community where users can share information about local brands that are considered alternatives to Japanese products. / Captured from NoNo Japan|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
Korean citizens' boycott of Japanese products has become more intense, widespread and sophisticated in response to Tokyo's recent decision to curb exports of high-tech materials to Seoul.
Online communities have started a vast boycott of major Japanese brands, ranging from electronics to household goods and snacks. An increasing number of merchants have also joined the "Boycott Japan" campaign, saying they will stop offering Japanese goods.
A new online community called "NoNo Japan" surfaced July 11, where users can share information about Japanese brands and help find local alternative brands.
The website crashed Thursday morning as users flocked to check out items.
There are currently about 60 registered products, and any member can freely upload others to the website.
"I thought it would be better to share information about alternatives instead of just telling them about products to boycott," the creator of No No Japan was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.
The nation's biggest online community dedicated to travel in Japan has also decided to halt its operations to show support for the widespread protests and boycott of Japanese goods and services.
"The community will go on a temporary hiatus," said the operator of the community, the name of which is literally translated as "Japan Travelers' Club," without specifying how long the closure would continue.
"As the manager of a Japan travel community, I hope my support for the boycott holds a symbolic meaning."
Founded in 2003, the community has more than 1.3 million members who share travel tips on Japan.
The site operator is no longer allowing members to put up new posts.
Organizations of small and midsize shops in Incheon said Thursday its members have decided to remove Japanese consumer goods from their shelves.
The organizations are comprised of roughly 1,700 business operators, including members of the Incheon City Merchant Association, the Korea Mart Association Incheon Branch and the Korea Supermarkets Alliance Incheon Branch.
The move comes after 3,000 small and midsize shops said Monday they would remove Japanese goods from their shelves.
Meanwhile, Uniqlo Korea apologized a week after CFO Takeshi Okazaki of Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo, commented that the impact of a Korean consumer boycott of the brand "wouldn't last for long."
This came after angry Korean consumers protested in front of major Uniqlo branches in Seoul holding signs that read "Boycott Japan."
"We deeply apologize if the executive's remarks angered our customers," Uniqlo Korea said in a statement.
"The company will do what it can by continuing to offer good products and services."