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Economy

Moon's minimum wage policy inflames small businesses

South Korean analysts, mom-and-pop store owners attack pace of pay rises

SEOUL -- Lee Keun-jae has sold kimchi soup and pork belly barbeque at his small restaurant in central Seoul for the last two decades. He has managed to keep going through business ups and downs, but says he is now facing one of the toughest periods yet.

A part-time waitress recently offered to quit after she realized that the eatery was not making enough revenue to maintain her job. Lee believes this is due to the country's fast-rising minimum wage, driven by President Moon Jae-in's pledge during last year's election campaign to increase it to 10,000 won ($8.9) an hour by 2020.

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