Makgeoli latest victim of chilled Japan-Korea ties
Exports of Korea’s traditional alcoholic beverage makgeolli to Japan dropped sharply during the first nine months of this year, apparently affected by chilled relations between the two countries, customs data showed yesterday.
Korea exported a total of 21,743 tons of makgeolli during the January-September period, down 28.6 percent from the same time a year earlier, the data by the Korea Customs Service showed. The exports were estimated at $27.36 million, which also marked a 28 percent decline from a year earlier.
The decline comes amid chilled relations between Korea and Japan after President Lee Myung-bak visited the country’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in August, touching off a diplomatic conflict with Japan.
Dokdo, which lies closer to Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, has long been a thorn in relations between the two countries. Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.
Some experts also cited a growing trend among Japanese consumers to like non-alcoholic beverages as another reason why the demand for makgeolli has declined.
In contrast with a fall in makgeolli exports to Japan, imports of Japanese sake have increased over the same cited period, the data showed.
Korea imported a total of 2,281 tons of sake until September this year, up 7.5 percent from a year earlier. The imports were valued at about $11.03 million, which is an 8.9 percent rise from a year earlier, the data showed.