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Seoul, Busan OK ordinances for boycott of Japanese goods

Jiji Press SEOUL (Jiji Press) — In a fresh development illustrating growing tensions between Japan and South Korea, the Seoul city assembly enacted Friday an ordinance calling on the city government of the South Korean capital to restrict its purchases of products of certain Japanese companies.

The city assembly of Busan passed a similar ordinance the same day.

Seoul and Busan are the most and second-most populated cities in South Korea, respectively.

Calls for introducing ordinances for a boycott of Japanese goods are growing in other South Korean municipalities as well.

The Seoul and Busan ordinances branded Japanese businesses that requisitioned people from the Korean Peninsula to work for them during Japan’s colonization of the peninsula from 1910 to 1945 and exploited or inflicted damage on these people as “war-criminal companies.”

Designated as such companies in the Seoul ordinance are more than 280 businesses, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Nippon Steel Corp.

The ordinance claimed that no official apology or compensation has been made although these companies inflicted damage on South Korean people such as through forcible requisition of workers.

The majority of members of the Seoul and Busan assemblies have close ties with the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

They apparently hope to support the administration by leading the boycott campaign and enhancing anti-Japan sentiments across South Korea.

The moves are likely to affect exchanges between local communities of Japan and South Korea. Relations between the two countries have been frosty due to wartime labor and other issues.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference Friday that the latest moves by the Seoul and Busan assemblies are “extremely regrettable because the ordinances accuse certain companies of our country unfairly based on improper and unreasonable claims, and can bring economic disadvantages.”

Behind the spreading boycott campaign is a backlash against Tokyo’s tightened controls on exports to South Korea, including the removal late last month of the neighboring country from its list of trusted trading partners qualified for preferential treatment in export procedures.Speech

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