SEOUL, Aug. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — South Koreans’ credit card spending on Japanese products has more than halved in the past month amid an escalating trade row between the two countries, government data showed Thursday.
Korean consumers have staged a campaign against Japanese products and travel to the neighboring country since early July when Japan restricted exports of key materials to Korea.
Japan’s official exclusion of Korea from its list of trusted trading partners early this month has fueled the anti-Japan sentiment.
In a report submitted to Rep. Lee Tae-kyu of the minor opposition Barenmirae Party, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said the country’s eight card credit companies’ sales in Japanese brand stores, such as casual clothing chain Uniqlo, retailer Muji, cosmetics firm DHC and shoe store ABC Mart plunged to 4.98 billion won (US$4.1 million) at the end of July from 10.23 billion won a month earlier.
Uniqlo was hit the hardest, with local credit card sales plunging 70 percent to 1.77 billion won from 5.94 billion won during the mentioned period.
Koreans’ card spending in four major Japanese tourism sites — Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa and Fukuoka — also declined 19 percent to 13.38 billion won at end-July from 16.48 billion won a month ago, the FSS report said.
The nationwide boycott on Japanese products also affected Japanese beer sales in the imported beer market.
Japan had long maintained a leading position but last month it ranked third after Belgium and the United States, according to Korea Customs Service (KCS).
The country imported $43.42 billion worth of Japanese beer products in July, down 45 percent from the previous month’s $79.04 billion, due to declining demand among Korean consumers, the KCS said.