Korea’s imports from Japan have been plunging since the recent massive earthquake amid concerns that disruptions in supply of parts and materials from the neighboring country could hurt the economy here, customs data showed Thursday.
Before the 9.0-magnitude quake struck Japan last Friday, Korea’s daily weekday imports from the country averaged $303.33 million for this month, according to the data by the Korea Customs Service.
But the figure fell to $268.51 million on Monday and further declined to $193.93 million on Tuesday. The daily imports stood at $218.84 million on Wednesday, down 27.9 percent from the pre-disaster level, the data showed.
The plunge is attributed to devastated roads, railways, power outages and growing fears of radioactive leakage, all of which have been hampering ordinary production and transportation of products overseas.
The declining imports are feared to affect small and medium-size firms here, which depend heavily on Japan-made parts and materials mostly used to manufacture semiconductors, flat panels and precision machinery, observers said.
Last year, Korea purchased 40.7 percent of its semiconductor-making equipment imports from Japan. Imports of chip parts from the country made up 25.3 percent of the total.
A survey showed 27.6 percent of small and medium-sized firms here said they are having difficulty in securing key parts and materials from Japan for their ordinary business operations.