South Koreans urge boycott of Japanese goods in row over WWII forced labor
Added 07-05-19 05:37:02pm EST - “Demands in South Korea for a boycott of Japanese goods are picking up steam after Tokyo imposed new trade restrictions on high-tech exports, rekindling a dispute over compensation for victims of historical war crimes.” - Rt.com
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Relations between the two countries have long been marred by memories of Imperial Japan’s decades-long occupation of the Korean peninsula that ended in 1945 – in particular the use of forced labor and “comfort women” for military brothels.
Last year, a South Korean court ordered two Japanese firms to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to victims of forced labor, a move stridently opposed by Tokyo, which maintains that the labor dispute was settled when the two countries revived diplomatic ties in 1965. The contested court ruling ultimately prompted the new Japanese trade limits, imposed on Thursday.
In addition to the ramped up pressure for boycotts, on Friday Seoul responded to the trade cuts by dissolving a fund established in 2015 to compensate South Korean women forced to work in Japanese military brothels before and during World War II, prompting harsh words from Tokyo. It is unclear what will happen to the remaining money in the fund.
The standoff between the two US allies risks escalating into a trade war that could severely disrupt global electronics supplies. South Korea imported some $54 billion in Japanese goods last year, according to central bank data.
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