제 3 호 Boycotts, Now and Then
Kicker: WORLD (ECONOMY)
Boycotts, Now and Then
Taking a Look at NO Japan Movement and More
By Sarah Chae, Editor Yu-Jeong Kim , Cub Reporter
When you walk down the street, have you ever seen the phrases of boycott of Japanese products? For example, let's not go and not buy. Nowadays, a boycott of Japan is spreading in Korea, with all ages people. The boycott of Japanese goods is a voluntary boycott of Japanese products by South Koreans in protest of Japan's unilateral trade sanctions.
Boycott means the voluntary behavior that a particular company, country, organization start to stop the transaction in terms of protest.
In fact, the boycott against Japan is not the first of its kind. Everyone knows Oxy, which has caused 73 Koreans to die from humidifier disinfectants and created a secondary disorder. So, when the Oxy product list came up, there was a boycott against buying the items that were made by Oxy.
Since the boycott is a hot topic these days, we will look into the history of the boycott of Japan. In addition to the boycott of Japan, the article will cover the boycott itself. Therefore, we will recognize the first boycott movement and include the story of students at Sangmyung University about the boycott. It will also describe various kinds of boycotts and the prospects of boycotts seen by those who are in their 20s.
The History of the Boycott of Japan
Japan's Mainichi Shimbun said South Korea has never succeeded in a boycott of Japan for about 25 years.
First of all, there was a boycott to expel Japanese tobacco in 1995 and then a boycott in 2001 due to the controversy over Japanese history textbooks. Banners appealing for a boycott of Japanese products were installed at the plaza of Seoul City Hall, but nothing happened.
In 2005, there was a boycott because of Shimane Prefecture’s Takeshima Day. Citizen groups held a rally to appeal for a boycott of Japanese products. Toyota’s Lexus, however, posted the top sales figure for imported cars in May of that year. Sony’s 20,000 game consoles were sold out in six days.
In addition, a boycott of Japanese goods against the Abe government's Takeshima Day event occurred in 2013. There have been so many boycotts, but none of them have been consistently carried out. Therefore, the Japanese feel in different about the boycott.
The First Boycott
The first boycott was a boycott that Philadelphia traders and the National Congress of the United States protested against Britain in 1769. Because the people of that protest were colonists of the British. The boycott of the British was connected to the Declaration of Independence and the War of Independence.
Students' Opinions about the Boycott of Sangmyung University
A survey of 100 students at Sangmyung University was conducted to find out their perception of the boycott. 88 out of 100 had experience with it and thought it was a noble dispassion. The other 12 said they have never done it.
Most of the reasons for the boycott are requests for apology, human rights demands and the social atmosphere. Some also said that it was because the trusted company made a disappointing move, while others said it was trying to make changes by keeping sales from going up.
On the other hand, most of the reasons for not boycotting were that the relations between the countries have deteriorated and the effectiveness was unknown. There was also a claim that there are better products than Korea ones among the products that the boycott took place against.
Finally, the opinion of students at Sangmyung University about the boycott movement was that most of the respondents said the boycott should be carried out in a continuous and consistent manner. In addition, there were many opinions that they should boycott following beliefs, but not force others to do so.
We took a look at important boycott movements of the past. Let’s take a look at the present state of domestic and global issues about boycott movements now.
20s Boycott: A Way to Express Beliefs
We found out that 100 out of 88 SMU students have answered that they have participated in a boycott. How about the other 20’s? According to a study on the life style and values of the 15-34 generation by University Tomorrow(대학내일: Daehak Naeil), the 20’s boycott movements are surely on the rise. The following table shows that the ratio of young people who participated in boycotts increased by 9.8%p in 2019 compared to 2018. We can also see that two out of five people from the ages between 15-34 are currently participating in the boycott movement. Through these results, the report says boycotts are becoming a routine to the youth, and that this is one of their ways to express their beliefs. It shows disappointment or resistance torward corporations that have made socially inappropriate movements or speech through produsts or advertisements, etc.
Examples of Boycotts, In and Out
In Korea: Oxy
Oxy’s household humidifier disinfectants were sold without needed warnings, even though they included dangerous chemicals. These toxic disinfectants took more than 100 lives away. People were shooked, and major convenience store chains excluded oxy products from their stores. The boycott grew to other household products of Oxy, sales dropped, the company lost 80 percent of its workforce, and closed down a production line in Iksan. Oxy then spent 200 billion won, providing compensation to the victims.
In Korea: NO Japan Movement
Recently, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe excluded South Korea from its white list and said there will be restrictions on their exports in the semiconductor sector. The move is seen as economic revenge against the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling on compensation for forced labor. Plus, after South Korea decided to terminate the *GSOMIA with Japan in late August (due to lack of information, national interests) Japan started the catch-all regulation, an export regulation aimed at all goods. The Korean stock market has been hit hard by the shock.
As Japan continued dealing with political issues with financial revenging measures, many Koreans voluntarily joined the boycott, the No Japan Movement. As a result, sales of Uniqlo, ABC Mart, and the number of Japanese travelers has dropped. Therefore, according to the Asahi Shimbun, the tourism business in Japan's provinces (Osaka, Hokkaido) are having difficult times.
Now, in addition to the national level, it is time for the nation to take more wise measures and handle them on the diplomatic level to end mutual damages and this trade war.
Outside Korea: The Body Shop and Burberry, Cruelty-free Cosmetics and the Fur trade
The Body Shop boycott went on for 11 years, and ended in a success. The consumer and animal rights group, Naturewatch, demanded the truth and asked the company if they were hiding behind statements or if they were really committed to ending animal testing. As a result, the owner announced a clear animal testing policy and is now on the list for cruelty-free cosmetics brands.
The Burberry boycott went over a decade too. The consumer and animal rights group, PETA, was against Burberry’s use of fur. They held protests around the world, sent many e-mails, and even became a company shareholder to attend Burberry’s annual shareholder meeting. Burberry eventually announced that it will join Armani, Gucci, Westwood, and other fashion companies in banning fur.
After these boycotts of now and then, sometimes nothing changed. Everybody except you might buy stuff on the boycott lists you saw. Big corporations or groups are still famous. Sometimes boycotts worked out well. Corporations have suffered due to falling financial profits or a weakening of their brand image. They changed their strategy and provided apologies or support.
We now know that a boycott itself is not the only key to a change, but it can be a start. Boycotts can make the results above or move on to ‘Buycotts’ and spread awareness of ethical buying by purchasing products matching your purposes. You know your movement is not a simple saving method. You have a purpose to it. Stay Clear, Concious, and Continue, and you will find your messages and results growing up to another change another person.
*GSOMIA: General Security of Military Information Agreement. South Korea shared their military information over 20 times to Japan. On the other side, Japan refused when South Korea asked for their military information one time.