(JTA) — A major department store chain in Japan canceled the participation of an importer specializing in wine from the Golan Heights at an event celebrating Mediterranean cuisine over fear of protests from activist groups.
Daimaru, which held the fair last month in Tokyo, withdrew an invitation for the Naturael importer to sell its products, The Associated Press reported, because it sells wine that is produced in the Golan.
Naturael sells wine, olive oil and date syrup made in Israel throughout Japan.
Daimaru told AP that it has no policy against Israeli products in general and that wine from other areas of Israel was sold at the fair.
“Today we cannot ignore geopolitical issues,” Satoshi Nishio, a spokesman for Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co., told AP. “We have to start paying more attention to where products are coming from.”
Naturael CEO Yoshiyuki Hongo told AP that the wines he carries are legally imported into Japan and “all authorized by the Japanese government.”
Hongo expressed concern that such boycotts would spread to other areas of commerce, “not just food but to information and technology systems and many other commercial products.”
“In the end, you won’t be able to sell anything,” he told AP.
Daimaru is not the first Japanese department store chain to boycott an Israeli product, according to AP. Last year, Mitsukoshi banned Israeli products at an event in Tokyo.