Major Japanese cosmetics maker DHC Corp., which has been criticized for being discriminatory against ethnic Korean residents of Japan, said Thursday it will withdraw from the South Korean market.

The company has been under fire since its chief executive wrote a message on its Japanese website in November last year apparently attacking a rival company that he said uses many Japanese TV personalities with Korean roots in its commercials.

On the website of its South Korean branch, the company said it has decided to close its business in the country and discontinue online sales of its products by the middle of this month.

In South Korea, a boycott of DHC products has spread and department stores have stopped selling them since the maker's chief executive, Yoshiaki Yoshida, wrote the message in which he used a derogatory term to refer to ethnic Koreans and added, "DHC is a purely Japanese firm, including the TV personalities we use."

In May, DHC deleted Yoshida's message from the Japanese website amid mounting criticism both in South Korea and Japan.

The cosmetic maker entered the South Korean market in 2002.