|A supermarket in Seoul has put up a sign that reads, "We do not sell Japanese products." / Yonhap|
By Kwak Yeon-soo
Consumers are turning away from Japanese products like beer, instant noodles and snacks, in the wake of a trade dispute over Tokyo's recent decision to curb exports of high-tech materials to Seoul.
With sales of these products falling dramatically at discount chains, many say this is an indication that the "Boycott Japan" movement is hurting business.
Supermarket chain E-mart said Japanese beer sales dropped by 30.1 percent between July 1 and 18 compared to the same period a month ago.
Japanese instant noodle sales plunged 31.4 percent, while Japanese seasoning sauce sales fell 29.7 percent and Japanese natto sales declined 9.9 percent, according to E-mart.
Lotte Mart also saw a 15.2 percent decrease in Japanese beer sales during the same period.
Japanese instant noodle sales dropped 26.4 percent while natto sales fell 11.4 percent. Japanese snack sales fell 21.4 percent from a month earlier.
Meanwhile, convenience stores suffered weekly losses in July as a result of the widespread boycott of Japanese products.
CU suffered a 40.1 percent plunge in Japanese beer sales between July 1 and 18 compared to the same period a month earlier, while sales of other imported beers increased by 1.9 percent. Local beer sales rose 2.8 percent.
At GS25, Japanese beer sales fell 24.4 percent between July 1 and 17. During the same time, local beer sales rose 4.3 percent.
At 7-Eleven, Japanese beer sales dropped 20.6 percent while local beer sales increased 2.4 percent.
"With the Boycott Japan movement gaining more traction, we're witnessing a bigger drop in weekly sales," a convenience store official said.
"Given that beer sales in general have increased, it's obvious the boycott has had a certain impact on sales. Many of those who preferred Japanese beer brands have shifted to other imported or Korean brands."
Japan and Korea are in a trade dispute, with the consensus in Korea that Japan's export restrictions are in retaliation against Korean Supreme Court rulings last year ordering Japanese firms to compensate surviving South Korean victims of wartime forced labor during the 1910-45 Japanese occupation of Korea.