South Korea: Japanese beer imports hits highest level in more than 3 years

After Japanese beer exports collapsed amid the ‘No Japan’ boycott campaign in South Korea, Japanese breweries are now regaining market share. In January, imports of Japanese beer hit the highest level in more than three years.

In the first month of this year  Korea imported Japanese beer worth over USD 2 million, up a whopping 315 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service and the liquor industry.

In October 2019, Japanese beer exports to South Kora plunged to zero as consumers shun Japanese products following a spiraling trade war between the two Asian countries. One year before, in October 2018, South Korea imported beer worth JPY 800 million (USD 7.3 million) accounting to about two thirds of the country's beer imports, according to trade data from Japan's finance ministry.  (, 28.11.2019)

The relationship between the two neighboring countries had long been strained because of Japan's brutal colonization of the peninsula in the first half of the 20th century. The conflict in 2019 arose, when South Korea allowed former workers to sue for indemnification for forced labor during Japan’s occupation of South Korea between 1910 and 1945. Tokyo refused payments saying that an agreement from 1965 in which Japan paid USD 500 million was meant to cover such cases.

Imports of Japanese beer have been growing amid a weakening anti-Japan sentiment in South Korea. In addition, major Japanese brewers like Asahi lowered beer prices and ran promotions in Asia's fourth-largest economy. (, 22.11.2022)

This helped to improve sales. In 2022, import figures have more than doubled to over USD 14 million from USD 6.9 million a year earlier.

However, import data are still low and are only about one third to one fourth compared to the years before.

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