On 29 September, BDS activists from Palestine Forum Japan (PFJ) picketed two department stores in Abeno, Osaka demanding the immediate end to sales of SodaStream given the Israeli company’s extensive operations at a West Bank settlement built on stolen Palestinian land. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. This is the second action of the Stop! SodaStream Campaign launched by PFJ last July.
Activists started the day educating consumers about the illegal practices of SodaStream and collecting signatures for a petition targeting franchise chains Tokyu Hands and Ito Yokado. At the end of the day activists delivered the petition to management in these stores. While Tokyu Hands accepted the petition, Ito Yokado did not. Activists explained the inadmissibility of selling settlement products from a legal and moral standpoint and vowed to continue the campaign until SodaStream withdraws from Japan.
Activists had written to the companies in advance of the action. Tokyu Hands was the only company that replied saying SodaStream will continue being sold on its shops because they are allegedly imported, labelled and sold legally under Japanese law. The Japanese Foreign Ministry told PFJ in 2010 that goods made in Israeli settlements but labelled “made in Israel” did not conform with the official Japanese position that Israeli settlements are not Israeli territory and that they would investigate the legality of such labeling under the Japanese consumer protection law.
SodaStream started selling its products in Japan last year, imported by Sinergy Trading Corp. and are now sold in 500 stores countrywide, including 24 Tokyu Hands stores and 140 Ito Yokado stores.