Photo/IllutrationA notice posted at a supermarket in Seoul tells customers that sales of Japanese beers have been halted. (Hajimu Takeda)

  • Photo/Illustraion

SEOUL--Sales of Japanese beers, highly popular in South Korea, fizzled out amid a boycott of Japanese goods in the weeks after Japan tightened export controls of semiconductor-related materials.

According to E-Mart, the leading supermarket chain in South Korea, sales of beers brewed in Japan dropped by 28.4 percent during the period of July 1-16, compared with the same period the previous month. Japan announced the export restrictions on July 1.

At GS25, the largest convenience store chain in the country, sales of Japanese beers declined by 24.2 percent during the two weeks after July 1, compared with the same period the previous month. Subsequently, sales of South Korean beers and imports from countries other than Japan rose.

As Japanese foods take root in South Korea, sales of Japanese beers have expanded rapidly in recent years. According to E-Mart, Asahi Breweries Ltd., which was the top seller among Japanese beer makers, placed second in sales among all import brands during the first half of the year. But between July 1 and July 16, Asahi sank to sixth place.

In response to the growing boycott, Asahi Breweries has suspended airing TV commercials.

“As we are unable to foresee how long the influence of the boycott will continue, we are continuing to collect information,” said an official of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.

According to a survey released July 18 by Realmeter, an opinion research firm in South Korea, 54.6 percent of respondents said they participated in the boycott, which is 6.6 points higher than a week ago.

On social networking services and elsewhere, calls for canceling trips to Japan are continuing. South Korean media said that a website offering travel information on Japan with about 1.3 million members was temporarily shut down.

Websites promoting the buying of domestic products instead of Japanese goods have also popped up.