Jessica Goodfellow
Aug 19, 2020

Amazon Prime Video ad sparks boycott movement in Japan

An ad featuring two figures who have made contentious comments about Japanese citizens in the past has ignited a boycott movement on social media.

Amazon Prime Video ad sparks boycott movement in Japan

Amazon is facing backlash in Japan over a TV ad for its Prime Video subscription service featuring political scientist Ruri 'Lully' Miura and comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto, both of whom have made controversial comments in the past.

In the 15-second ad, Miura, Matsumoto and several other popular figures are seen watching Amazon Prime Video on their TV and tablets.

A screenshot of Miura appearing in the Amazon Prime Video ad

The ad was rolled out earlier in August. A boycott movement has begun to gain ground over the past few days, in which consumers are Tweeting that they are cancelling their Prime contracts in opposition to the ad.

The Japanese hashtag #Amazonプライム解約運動 (which translates to Amazon Prime cancellation campaign) was the number one trending hashtag in Japan on Monday (August 17).

Several social-media users cited Miura and Matsumoto's presence in the TV ad as the reason for their cancellation.

Miura has made controversial remarks in the past that observers say promote discrimination. In 2018, she suggested there were North Korean spies in the western Japan city of Osaka, calling them "sleeper cells".

Matsumoto attracted criticism in 2019 after he described the suspect in a fatal stabbing incident in Kawasaki as a "defective product". Matsumoto has a series with Amazon Prime, which is now in its eighth season.

One social-media user Tweeted that featuring Miura and Matsumoto in the ad campaign is "tantamount to the company giving its consent to those statements." Another suggested researchers like Miura should not feature in ad campaigns as this clashes with their requirement to be impartial.

Campaign has reached out Amazon Japan for comment but they did not respond by time of publication.

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