Local governments ramp up anti-Abe protests

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Local governments ramp up anti-Abe protests

The Jung District Office of Seoul will hang more than 1,000 banners in the area that read “Boycott Japan” in the next 10 days to protest Japan’s decision to remove Korea from a so-called white list of trusted trading partners, the office announced Monday.

The district office said that it will hang 1,100 banners calling for boycotting Japanese goods, including in the shopping district of Myeongdong, frequented by foreign tourists, through Aug. 15, the Liberation Day of Korea.

Korea was annexed by Japan from 1910 to 1945.

The banners will hang side by side with Korean flags, and will be visible on roads including Toegye-ro which runs from Seoul Station through Myeongdong Station, Eulji-ro that stretches from city hall to the Dongdaemun area, Cheonggyecheon-ro alongside the Cheonggyecheon Stream, Sejongdae-ro that begins at Gwanghwamun Square and stretches southward and the Jeong-dong area near Deoksu Palace.

“Jung District is located at the center of Seoul and is an area frequented by many foreign tourists,” said Seo Yang-ho, mayor of Jung District. “This will show the world the resolve of the Koreans to not allow Japan to get away with such unfair policy. The Jung District Office will continue to take up all possible measures within our capacity to show this resolve.”

Japan’s cabinet approved last week the proposal to remove Korea from the list of trusted trading partners. The decision, which was widely expected, follows Tokyo’s first restriction, imposed on July 4, which applies a tougher approval process for exports to Korea of three key materials used for semiconductor and display production.

Since the initial restriction in July, several local governments, including those of Busan and Seoul city, announced their intention to boycott Japanese goods and cancel official trips to Japan.

The city government of Seoul made the additional announcement Monday that it banned Japanese brands from participating as sponsors in the 2019 Seoul Race, an annual marathon in the city organized by the city government.

Heads of district offices in Seoul also began a social media campaign to promote vacationing inside Korea.

“Spend this year’s vacation at home,” reads a sign held up by Seodaemun District Mayor Moon Seok-jin, in a photo he posted on his Facebook account on Friday. “A lot of people have canceled their trips to Japan and are boycotting Japanese goods. I hereby suggest that we all spend our vacation inside the country this year.”

Gangnam District Office also removed the 14 Japanese flags that hung on Tehran-ro, Yeongdongdae-ro and at the Rodeo Street in Apgujeong-dong, on Friday. The district office has been hanging flags of countries all around the world in these streets since July last year.

BY PARK HAE-LEE, ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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