Japanese businesses reopen in China
Japanese businesses in China cautiously returned to normal operations on Wednesday, as anti-Japan protests that forced many to shut down for security reasons appeared to be dying down.
Chinese authorities took measures to discourage all further protests, keeping the area around the Japanese embassy in Beijing under heavy security with barricades and armed police, who blocked pedestrians from approaching the embassy compound.
The Liangmaqiao subway station, which many students had used to get to the demonstrations on Tuesday, was closed.
Large anti-Japan protests erupted throughout China over the weekend and early this week after the Japanese government nationalised a group of islands claimed by both countries. Some of the protests turned violent, with crowds looting Japanese stores and setting fire to Japanese factories.
As a semblance of peace returned to many parts of China, manufacturers including Nissan, Mitsubishi Motor, Mazda and Sony, which had closed their factories at the beginning of the week, resumed operations.
Retailers in major cities, such as 7-11 and Uniqlo, also reopened stores.
Meanwhile, Chinese patrol boats continued to navigate the waters near the disputed islands – known in Japan as the Senkakus and in China as the Diaoyu – under the close watch of the Japanese coast guard.
On Tuesday, 12 Chinese patrol boats were seen by the coast guard to be moving in and out of waters adjacent to the islands, and three of these patrol boats entered Japanese waters.
By Wednesday, however, most of the boats had moved away, according to the Japan coast guard.
Katsuya Okada, deputy Japanese prime minister, said the government had not confirmed reports that numerous Chinese fishing boats were headed towards the islands.
“Obviously, if they enter Japanese territorial waters, the coast guard will send out a warning to not enter,” he said.
Japan and China needed to make efforts “calmly and level-headedly to improve on the current situation”, Mr Okada said, warning that unlawful violence against Japanese businesses could harm China’s global standing.
“When it comes to looting and destroying Japanese businesses, we certainly hope that measures will be taken to deter such activities. Otherwise, there is no doubt that the reaction of the global community, including investors, will become even more stern towards China,” he added.
Finance minister Jun Azumi also called for calm in dealing with the dispute and stressed that tensions over the islands should not derail economic co-operation.
Mr Azumi said the flare-up of tensions over the islands would not get in the way of the bilateral financial co-operation agreed earlier this year, which paved the way for direct trading of the two countries’ currencies and the start of Japan’s purchase of Chinese government bonds.