SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Korea Bizwire) –South Korea’s appetite for Japanese beer has seen a remarkable resurgence this year, catapulting Japan back to the summit of beer-importing nations.
This marks a significant turnaround since July 2019 when Japan imposed export restrictions on South Korea, causing Japanese beer to lose its top position in the South Korean market. In 2018, South Korea had imported a substantial 86,676 tons of beer from Japan, constituting 24.2 percent of its total beer imports.
However, the scenario drastically shifted in 2019, with Japanese beer imports plummeting to 47,331 tons. This relegation placed Japan in third place, trailing behind Belgium (59,720 tons) and China (58,233 tons). By 2020, Japan had slipped further to tenth place. The following year, it clawed back to ninth place and then rebounded to claim the top spot this year.
The decline in Japanese beer’s popularity in South Korea was primarily attributed to the diplomatic tensions between the two countries. In response to a South Korean Supreme Court decision regarding compensation for forced labor victims, Japan enforced export restrictions on semiconductors and other products in July 2019. This action fueled a boycott of Japanese beer in South Korea.
However, as time passed, the intensity of the boycott gradually diminished, allowing Japanese beer brands such as Asahi, Sapporo, and Kirin to regain prominence on the shelves of hypermarkets and convenience stores.
Recent trade statistics from the Korea Customs Service reveal that from January to August 2023, South Korea imported 36,573 tons of Japanese beer, representing a substantial 21.9 percent share of the nation’s total beer imports, firmly reestablishing Japan at the top of the rankings.
Among the importing nations, Japan was followed by China (32,153 tons), the Netherlands (29,243 tons), Poland (11,291 tons), Germany (9,911 tons), the United States (9,876 tons), the Czech Republic (8,850 tons), and Ireland (8,705 tons).
Contrastingly, in the previous year, Japan had imported 18,940 tons of beer, making up 8.8% of its total imports, placing it third behind China (46,504 tons) and the Netherlands (45,125 tons).
From January to August of the current year, Japan’s beer imports have overtaken those of China (32,153 tons) and the Netherlands (29,243 tons), boasting a remarkable 238.4 percent increase in Japanese beer imports compared to the same period last year.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)