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Popular online community of Korean travelers to Japan goes on hiatus in protest

South Korea’s biggest online community dedicated to travel in Japan declared a hiatus Wednesday in a show of support for widespread protests here that increasingly involve boycotts of Japanese goods and services.

The protests are a response to the Japanese government’s recent decision to curb exports of high-tech materials to Korea.

(Screen capture of Naver`s Japan Travel Friend)
(Screen capture of Naver`s Japan Travel Friend)

Founded in 2003, the community, Naver’s Japan Travel Friend, has more than 1.3 million members who share travel tips and information on things to do in Japan.

The site operator is no longer allowing members to make new posts, and issued a statement early Wednesday announcing the decision.

“With this statement as the last message, the community will go on a long hiatus,” the online community operator said, without specifying how long the temporary closure would continue.

“As the manager of a Japan travel community, I believe my support for the boycott campaign itself holds a symbolic meaning,” the operator said.

Noting the upcoming election in Japan slated for July 21, the community manager said the community’s move represented the voices of Korean travelers who care for the neighboring country.

The community had already paused its activities last week but returned to normal Monday. But when more and more members urged each other to cancel their trips to Japan, the community decided to halt its operations indefinitely.

By Choi Ji-won (