S. Korea-Japan Trade Ties: Japanese youth reacts to trade row
Updated 18:46, 09-Aug-2019
Diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea are worsening amid an on-going trade row. It's led to anti-Japan protests and boycotts across South Korea, but the scene in Japan is quite different. Correspondent Mayu Yoshida files us this report from Tokyo.
MAYU YOSHIDA TOKYO "This is Shin-Okubo, the largest Koreatown in Japan. People come here to shop for everything Korean -from cosmetics, K-pop posters to authentic Korean food. Despite the flare-up of political tensions between Japan and South Korea, its businesses are as usual here."
YUIKA "Korean culture is beautiful I think. I like cosmetics and K-Pop, and also I like food. The government is (in a) really bad relationship but it's not so (bad among) the public."
KANAKO FUJIMOTO "As you can see from the very low voter turnout at the recent Upper House Election, younger generations in Japan are not really interested in political affairs."
Political apathy among Japanese youths is a serious social issue here. That's exactly why experts say younger Japanese are detached from the trade dispute between Tokyo and Seoul.
TOMOYUKI OGAWA "I haven't seen any anti-Korea protests in Tokyo. I think younger people here don't really care (about worsening Japan-Korea relations) because on a personal level both Japanese and Koreans are making friendly communication. That's how friendships are made."
However, keep in mind that when bilateral relations deteriorated back in 2012, many protests in this area scared off visitors and forced many shops and restaurants here to close down. In fact, the ongoing Korean boycott has started to affect sales of major Japanese companies, such as beer and tour packages. It's also affecting exports of Japanese cars. So although things are running as usual for now, business owners in Shin-Okubo tell me they're cautiously monitoring the situation.