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    Wednesday, November 20, 2019-2:19:08A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Regional News

Ad sparks protest, parody as South Korea-Japan dispute flares

SEOUL (Reuters) — A bitter dispute between South Korea and former colonist Japan has flared up, with Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo facing a consumer backlash after a new ad by the company was criticized as mocking victims of wartime forced labor and brothel workers.

A YouTube video created by a South Korean student parodying the ad has gone viral and protesters have targeted Uniqlo stores, demanding an apology from the company.

Relations between the two countries have slumped to their lowest in decades after a ruling by South Korea’s top court last year ordering Japanese firms to compensate wartime forced laborers.

In July, Japan tightened controls on exports of three key chipmaking materials to South Korea, prompting a wide-ranging boycott of Japanese products ranging from beer to pens.

Gaining more than 101,000 views in two days, the 19-second parody video posted on Saturday depicts a likeness of the Uniqlo’s TV commercial that the company began airing this month in South Korea and other markets.

In the commercial, Iris Apfel, 97-year-old American style icon with more than 1.4 million Instagram followers, is in an animated conversation with 12-year-old fashion designer Kheris Rogers.

When Rogers asks how she used to dress as a teenager, Apfel says: “I can’t remember that far back!”

Instead of a literal translation of that line, the commercial which aired in South Korea carried subtitles saying: “Gosh! How can I remember something that goes back 80 years?”