Why South Koreans are boycotting Japan

You called it!
(it’s the last 10 seconds of the ad, but the whole thing is pretty funny)

As seen on Previously on bOINGbOING:


Until the announcement, South Korea’ enjoyed most favored nation status with Japan,

Not really. Actually “the most favoured nation status” is the default status if no trade agreement exists between two countries. According to the WTO rules, every nation must apply to each trading country the “most favoured status”, so that means that every country is treated the same way (this does not apply if a specific trade agreement exists).
In the case of Japan/SK it is not a matter of tariffs, but export controls nominally to be sure that dual use (civil/military) products will be not used in not approved military applications.

Incidentally, the “most favoured nation” rule also means that if UK exits EU without a trade agreement (no deal) defaulting to WTO terms, they must apply the same tariffs to EU imports than to all other countries, they can’t waive tariffs for EU only.

I recommend to also look at the follow up video made in Japan.

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Exactly! This is a very short sighted move from Abe. I don’t think that resist manufactures are happy, and, as you point out, semiconductor industry takes a lot of time and money to start up, hurting South Korea industry will not automatically boost Japanese business. It is a too specialized industry.
When you are the only supplier of a special product it is easy to go Darth Vader (“I’m altering the deal…”), but it will backfire as an incentive to find an alternative.

I guess that in both nations national pride trumps rational behavior.


Hmmm. Doesn’t match anyone I know here but maybe your sources are better than mine.

As it turned out @richard77 already covered the facts of this.

I must exist in some kind of odd Japan where that just aint so. Given that some of my friends do share my interest in history but not all of them and AFAIK history is not something that my neighbors (here or out where my wife is from) particularly talk about too often but on the occasions when it has come up, people do pretty clearly do not deny the actions of the IJA.

Perhaps you get that idea from reading Jake Adelstein? He does love those words.

Nope. I “get that idea” from Abe’s own public words and actions. Assumption fail.


Was a question, not an assumption. But if you can follow PM Abe in Japanese then your skill level is higher than lots of foreigners who live here. Obviously my impression of PM Abe differs but I guess you have your reasons for thinking those things.

Your transparent attempt to infer Shinzo Abe is merely universally badly translated is a no-go, sorry. You’d have better luck insisting Chee-To Rex is a genius, FFS. If Abe’s actual speeches are so far from their translations, how come he tolerates such from his own translators, hmm?

Can the bullshit; you are fooling exactly no one.


NHK World is on basic cable systems and broadcasts in English. It is not that difficult if you pay attention.


I am pretty sure NHK’s English language service does a highly professional job of translating Japanese to English.


Exactly so. And his speeches to the UN are translated into every language, as well. Implying his words are particularly unclear, simply due to translation, is not going to work as some kind of excuse. His actions in office are also crystal-clear.


threatening faxes? Lets have a look at those shall we?

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True. However HNK isn’t going to cover Diet sessions or other speeches, discussions. doesn’t translate white papers and so on. If someone gets those above ideas about PM Abe based on NHK or UN speeches? I’m mystified. But @Mangochin as you’ve been kind enough to explain your personal relationship to this overall issue in the past I can certainly respect where you and I might have different opinions.

and @Bozobub I don’t infer things, anyone who knows me here knows that. I assumed though that you read and understand Japanese well enough to follow politics. Was I mistaken? Would you be kind enough to tell me which parts of speeches or actions in office lead you to hold your views?

(Um, small point, but the word “infer” just means to assume something from context. It’s not a pejorative word.)

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Correct and even more so technically correct! Perhaps the user I replied to who used it originally wanted to say I was implying something? Just a guess. Here though I merely repeated the misuse of the word, I should be more careful about that particular mistake as I suspect this isnt the first time I’ve done so.

I get my impression from Abe from what is reported as local/national news in Japan. My wife gets it directly in native Japanese, I usually follow in the English language version, both from the same sources generally. Space_Monkey had the most accurate and informed comment here on the subject,.

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Again, your transparent attempt to brush off all criticism of Abe’s blatant shenanigans is not going to work. His public words remain his public words. His public acts remain his public acts. No, I DO NOT need to know every detail of every Diet session to know these facts.

The only reason the recent hate speech act was passed, for example, was HUGE amounts of pressure on Abe, not his good will/graces.

My biggest problem with Abe, however, is his treatment of the “Comfort Women”:

Defends Japan’s denial of the “Comfort Women” scandal:

From the WIkipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan:

From March 1, 2007: Prime Minister Shinzō Abe stated in a newspaper article that there was no evidence that the Japanese government had kept sex slaves, even though the Japanese government had already admitted the use of brothels in 1993. On March 27, the Japanese parliament issued an official apology.[43] This was regarding the surviving comfort women who had demanded an apology from the Japanese government for being used as sex slaves.

And that, my friend, is just a few easy to find links re: the Comfort Women. Care to continue? I’d be gratified, however, if you’d do a little of your own research, instead of the innocent act; it’s simply not working for you/Abe.


I make no apologies for anyone, transparent or otherwise. I asked you a specific question and you finally cited one issue.

As for research I’ve done mine. I live here 21 years and most of my life is functionally in Japanese.

You mentioned the 2016 Hate Speech law. If one reads only the English wiki on the law lots of information is missing compared to the Japanese article. The English one doesnt even get the related political parties correct, fails to mention key details of the scope of the law, that it was actually submitted to the Diet by the LDP (ruling party that PM Abe belongs to) and the Komeito (political party associated with a particular Buddhist sect, big enough that when they go with the LDP there’s always a majority in the Diet) but most importantly the English version of the article doesnt mention the Constitutional issues involved with Article 21.

That last part matters, while the law was passed at the urging of the U.N., Japan is one of the few countries with an absolutist position on freedom of speech in its constitution and the courts are quite zealous in their protection of that right.

Put it this way, if someone who doesn’t function in English gets their information about the US politics from Fox or their information about British politics from The Sun, do you think they are getting a full picture?

I’m not a Japanese citizen, I dont have a horse in the race, I just care about what goes on for my own good. I can’t vote here (interestingly enough non citizens can participate in the political process in many ways with the limits of not vote or donating money to a politician) so I listen to my neighbors who are politically active and get a sense of their thoughts and feelings.

Isn’t this is a little rich considering you’re saying that you yourself are getting your supposedly deeper understanding of South Korean politics from Japanese media?

I’m sure Japanese media is a great source for finding explanations that South Korea is being “unreasonable”.


I haven’t commented on RoK politics here have I? I dont read Hangul so dont trust myself to know what’s going on over there.

Understood. As you say, you are not claiming to have any knowledge or opinion of what Koreans might feel, demand, or have experienced, in a thread titled Why South Koreans are boycotting Japan.

Sure. Carry on.

That last part matters, while the law was passed at the urging of the U.N., Japan is one of the few countries with an absolutist position on freedom of speech in its constitution and the courts are quite zealous in their protection of that right.

How does that square with the shutting down of art exhibitions involving depictions of comfort women? Do you consider this “zealous in their protection of that right”?


On the other side of protecting rights, do you know if the courts have successfully prosecuted any cases involving hate speech against Koreans?