A viral post on social media claims that ever since the US dropped nuclear bombs on Japan in 1945, it has become impossible for the American nation to sell even a needle in the country, because Japanese citizens boycott goods made in the United States. The post then calls for Indians to do the same against China.
However, this claim has no truth to it, because statistics and reports show very clearly that trade between the US and Japan is and has been booming for a long time, with Japan being US' fourth largest goods trading partner, as of 2019.
The forward, as pointed out above, says that since the 1945 nuclear bombings, the US cannot sell even a needle in Japan. This is apparently not because of trade policies but because Japanese citizens refuse to buy anything that is made in the US, it adds.
The post then says that this is a show of “real patriotism and unity” and that Indians can do the same against China if everyone unites.
We found that this claim has been viral on social media since 2016, which is what 71 years added to 1945, as mentioned in the viral message, would come to.
We also found the same claim doing the rounds on Twitter recently.
WHAT WE FOUND
It is well known that the US did indeed drop two nuclear bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945 respectively, during World War II.
But did this mean that Japanese citizens were boycotting products from the US in 2016? Not really.
We looked at the data available on the website of the United States Census Bureau, which showed that in 2016, trade was very much booming between the US and Japan. As the table below shows, the total value of exports of goods by US to Japan in the year 2016 amounted to $63,247 million.
Therefore, it is clear that in 2016, (which is the 71st year that the viral message speaks of), Japanese citizens were certainly not boycotting American goods in their country.
We also checked the data of the subsequent years, ie, 2017-2020. In 2017, the value of US export of goods to Japan was $67,603.4 million, in 2018 it was $75,149.3 million, in 2019 it was $74,376.5 million and up till April 2020, it was $23,614.7 million.
If one looks at the last couple of years leading up to 2016, no lack of trade is seen during those either. In 2015, total US exports of goods to Japan was $62,387.8 million, while in 2014, while in 2014, it was $66,891.8 million.
We also checked the data from 1985, when the value of US export of goods to Japan could be seen to be $22,630.9 million.
However, it may be noted that the US imports of goods from Japan have remained consistently higher than its exports.
Further, according to data from the website of the United States Trade Representative, as of 2019, Japan is USA’s fourth largest goods trading partner. The data also showed that US goods exports to Japan in 2019 accounted for 4.5 percent of overall US exports in that year and that while it was down 0.8 percent from 2018, it was up 46 percent from 2009.
The same website also provides details of the exports and the categories in which most exports took place.
According to an article by BloombergQuint, Japan was a protectionist country in the past and would be hesitant to allow foreign goods to enter the nation. But the article says that this has changed and that Japan is now very open to products from countries including the US, especially after some talks between the two in the 1990s. According to a report on US-Japan trade agreement negotiations, various non-tariff barriers in the Japanese market were a concern for the US in the 1980s and 1990s, but these concerns have waned since.
Moreover, there is nothing to suggest any change in the trade relations even now; in October 2019, there were two trade agreements signed between the two countries in an attempt to liberalise bilateral trade, according to one of which Japan was to eliminate or lower tariffs for certain US agricultural products.
Therefore, there is clearly no data to back up the claim that Japanese citizens have been boycotting goods manufactured in the US. This is being falsely claimed to push the popular call in India for boycotting Chinese goods. This call has gained strength in light of the violent face-off between the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA at the Galwan Valley on Monday, 15 June, and the recent tensions in Ladakh.
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