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UPDATE 1-Japanese automakers' sales slump in S.Korea as boycott bites

(Adds Lexus sales figures) (.)

SEOUL, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Japanese automakers saw their South Korean vehicle sales slump in July, data showed on Monday, as Japan's export curbs to Korea invited a consumer backlash.

Japan tightened controls in July on exports to South Korea, escalating a row over wartime forced laborers and sparking a boycott by South Korean consumers of Japanese products and services, from cars, beer and pens to tours.

Japanese automakers worry that the sales declines would continue this month, as Japan escalated tensions on Friday by removing South Koreas fast-track export status.

"Showroom visits are declining while consumers are holding off on signing contracts," a Honda Korea official told Reuters, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Toyota Motor saw its July sales in South Korea tumble 32% from a year earlier to 865 vehicles, while Honda's sales skidded 34%, according to data from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA).

Lexus, South Korea's third-biggest imported car brand after Mercedes and BMW, saw sales down 25% to 982 from the previous month, although that was still up 33% from the previous year.

A Toyota Korea spokeswoman declined to comment on the drop. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Sam Holmes and Muralikumar Anantharaman)