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Golf club's 'no Japanese car' policy sparks controversy

Nov. 20, 2023 - 17:16 By Park Ye-eun
A post prohibiting Japanese-made vehicles from entering the golf course’s parking lots (Online community Bobaedream)

A South Korean golf club has caused controversy online for its policy of restricting services for those driving Japanese cars.

The club, located in North Jeolla Province, prohibits parking of Japan-made cars at the club's parking lot, according to a notice posted on an online community on Nov. 11. Staff at the club will not load and unload golf clubs for those arriving in Japanese cars, it added.

Toyota, Lexus, Infiniti, Subaru and Isuzu cars are among those listed as banned in the notice.

“Do not forget the contributions of our ancestors who defended this country under the Japanese occupation,” the notice reads, referring to when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910-45.

“The purpose of this policy is not to forget the men and women who made sacrifices for the freedom of Korea during the Japanese colonial rule."

A nationwide boycott of Japan-made goods, mostly clothing, beer and cars, began in 2019 against Tokyo's export restrictions of some key industrial materials to Korea. The boycott has in recent years lost traction as Japanese brand goods have soared in popularity, especially among the younger generation, alongside improved Korea-Japan ties.

The notice drew mixed response from netizens. Some expressed support for the company, while others criticized the measure as a marketing gimmick, pointing to the popularity of Japanese-made golf clubs in Korea, which are not subject to restrictions at the golf club.

The vehicle ban has been in place from Jan. 1, 2022, the notice added.