• By The Financial District


Japanese consumers have reacted sharply to a TV commercial for Amazon Prime that features controversial celebrities, with a growing number of people tweeting that they have "terminated" their contract for the popular paid subscription service alongside a hashtag promoting that movement, Aya Shiota reported for Mainichi Shimbun late on August 18, 2020. 

In the 15-second ad footage by e-commerce giant Amazon.com, comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto and political scientist Ruri "Lully" Miura, among others, are seen watching movies and videos on TV and tablets, with their voices narrating over the footage. On Aug. 17, the Japanese hashtag "AmazonPrimeKaiyakuUndo" (Movement for terminating contracts for Amazon Prime) topped the trending list on Twitter in Japan, after the hashtag began to trend from around the day before. Many of those claiming to have canceled their contracts for the program cited the use of Miura and Matsumoto in the TV ad as their reason for their moves, not the content of the ad itself. 

Miura is known to have argued about the introduction of a conscription system. In 2018, she appeared in a private broadcaster's TV program and made controversial remarks including a comment that there were terrorist elements from North Korea and that there were talks of the western Japan city of Osaka being risky, using the term "sleeper cells." Her remarks sparked a backlash, with critics saying it would "fuel discrimination against Korean residents in Japan." In her blog, Miura refuted the criticism, stating that her comments were general awareness shared among experts and not something that was talked about in the media for the first time. 

Matsumoto also appeared on the same program in 2019 and came under criticism after he described the suspect in a fatal stabbing incident in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, that same year as a "defective product." Among the growing number of tweets slamming the use of Miura and Matsumoto in the TV ad, one commented, "To use a person who said something wrong or things that hurt others is tantamount to the company giving its consent to those statements."