Amazon Prime Video ad sparks boycott in Japan

Spot features two figures who have made contentious comments about Japanese citizens previously.

Amazon Prime Video: spot was released this month (Getty Images)
Amazon Prime Video: spot was released this month (Getty Images)

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

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

A screenshot from the spot

It 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.

A Japanese hashtag that translates to "Amazon Prime cancellation campaign" was the number one trending hashtag in Japan on Monday.

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

Miura has made controversial remarks in the past that observers say promote discrimination. In 2018, she suggested that there were North Korean spies in the Japanese 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 show on Amazon Prime, which is now in its eighth series.

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

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

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific

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