Japan radiation fear sparks South Korea diaper rush

SEOUL Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:52am EDT

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SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - The risk of radiation contamination from Japan's damaged nuclear power stations has sparked food bans across the globe and more surprisingly, a buying frenzy from South Korean mothers who fear their favorite Japanese-made diapers may suddenly become unavailable.

Cho Myung-jin, who organizes online group-buying for Japanese diapers, saw her website collapse on Tuesday under the weight of traffic as panicked South Koreans chased brands they believe are better quality than locally-made products.

"The reaction was scary. Some mothers did not go to work to reserve diapers," the 31-year old mother told Reuters.

According to Auction Corp (www.auction.co.kr) , the second-largest online shopping website in South Korea, sales of Japanese diapers have doubled since the quake.

After her social commerce website collapsed, Cho opened a new message board selling 300 packs of diapers, limiting sales to one pack per person, and said she received 2,000 offers in a minute.

She said the price of Japanese diapers available online has nearly doubled to 150,000 won ($133.30) a package.

"I feel sorry that they sold out, upsetting parents who had waited for days," said Cho, whose 22-month old infant uses the Japanese product.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by David Chance)

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