[OP-ED] Will Japan and South Korea Ever End This Trade War?

Jay Yim, Oct. 7, 2019, 5:11 p.m.


Japan and South Korea have been at a trade war since late last year when a South Korean supreme court demanded Japan compensate for forced labor back when Japan occupied the Korean Peninsula.

Since then, the two nations have been battling each other, worsening relations. South Korea has boycotted Japanese goods, including beer, cosmetic products and cars even. Japan removed South Korea from their list of trading partners. South Korea did not renew their intelligence sharing pact with Japan.

Not just the governments, but even the citizens are showing their anger. There was one incident of a South Korean man who set himself on fire in front of the Japanese Embassy. Another incident of a South Korean man who assaulted a Japanese Internet Idol named Miyurin, for apparently not responding to his flirting, and then proceeding to call her names and telling her to go back to her country.

It is without a doubt been am ugly war, and is probably going to continue to be so. Is this all really necessary? Why are both nations so angry about something that happened so long ago? Not to say what happened between the two nations was not a tragic happening, but most of the generations living today did not even live through the pains of the past. Maybe it's a pride thing, or emphathy of feeling what their parents and/or grandparents went through.

We all hope that this trade war will end soon, but no one will know how long until that will be. Cannes Falme d'Or-winning Japanese director Hirozaku Kore-eda said to South Korea to show "solidarity" or unity, with his fans and fellow filmmakers even though the governments of Seoul and Tokyo are in a war.

He said that "through showing support for each other we can solve and overcome these political problems". That statement is a hope that not all South Koreans and Japanese citizens are at each other's throats. Let us remain hopeful that this trade war will end and the two nations can work on reconciling their relations.

Meanwhile, a Japanese apparel and lifestyle firm called Onward Holdings Co. said Monday that it will pull out of South Korean next year. The company addressed this amid worseninng relations which affected their performance as a company as well. Despite this recent news, let's all remain hopeful and continue to pray for an end to this trade war.

Let us know what you think about the ongoing trade war? Do you think all of this is justified? Or could all of this have been easily solved? Comment below your thoughts.

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