The Small Local Sales Alliance, an association of small businesses owners in South Korea, asked on Monday to its millions of members to boycott Japanese goods. The association’s reason for proposing the boycott is Japan’s claim to Takeshima, a small group of islands in the East Sea that is the cause of a decades-old dispute between the two countries.
The association called on its members, including neighbourhood mini-marts, restaurants, pubs, and other stores, to stop selling Japanese goods including cigarettes, liquor and beer, its spokesman said.
“We launched the action in protest at Japan’s ridiculous claim over our Dokdo islands,” the spokesman said, referring to the South Korea-controlled islets in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) that are known as Takeshima in Japan, according to the international press.
Last week, Japan held an annually rally in order to promote its claim to the Takeshima islands, with hundreds of people participating, including the highest-ranking Japanese government officials.
South Korea asked Japan to cancel the rally and hundreds of activists staged a protest in front of Japan’s embassy in Seoul.
“Our group is comprised of countless smaller and close-knit neighbourhood chapters, so the impact can be significant if many agree to take part,” the alliance spokesman said.
Relations between South Korea and Japan have been affected for a long time by the territorial dispute. The conflict deepened in 2012, after a surprise visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak to the island chain.