Angry protesters shun Japanese businesses in China over Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands

A protester destroys a Japanese-brand police car in an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen

SCMP reports: “The intensity of anger in China over the latest Sino-Japanese dispute has some businessmen wondering if things will ever be same again

“‘I’m going home,’ said Naohito Sato, a Japanese entrepreneur based in Shanghai for 10 years, who feels the anti-Japanese sentiment now sweeping China is more than just fiery rhetoric.

“‘I think it’s totally different from the previous rows between the two countries,’ said Sato. ‘I have made up my mind to go home. China is no longer a good market for Japanese companies.’

“A nationwide boycott against Japanese brands since the territorial dispute between the two Asian giants escalated in September has caused numerous companies to either suspend or slash production on the mainland.

“Sato, a 40-year-old who speaks fluent Putonghua, has an agency serving several major Japanese companies operating on the mainland. Back in September he was set to open a Japanese-food restaurant in Shanghai’s bustling Hongqiao area when all hell broke loose.

“Chinese protesters took to the streets of mainland cities in fury at Japan’s purchase of three islets in the Diaoyu Islands, which are at the heart of a territorial dispute between the two countries.

“In nationalistic fervour, Japanese cars were smashed and Japanese restaurants attacked. Anti-Japan slogans were chanted at mass demonstrations amid calls to stop buying Japanese goods.

“Sato had just sunk 1 million yuan (HK$1.2 million) into his restaurant. He decided to put back the opening for a month, but since the doors opened in October, business has been bad.

“‘It’s not just because my restaurant is new and not many people know about it yet,’ he said. ‘The other Japanese restaurants in the neighbourhood are also doing pretty badly.’

“The anger against Japan has been more widespread and more violent than in any previous protests, for example, when Japanese dignitaries visit Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni shrine – which includes memorials to war criminals sentenced to death for crimes committed during the second world war.

“The territorial dispute over the tiny, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which are known as the Senkakus in Japan, inflamed popular anger across the mainland like never before.”

“Not that the man on the street needs any cues from the government. There is enough evidence Japanese businesses are already hurting as many Chinese consumers shun their products.”

“Japan’s big carmakers have reduced output in China by 40 per cent, according to reports, while sales are down by nearly half – with the latest figures showing things could be getting worse.”

Source: SCMP “Angry protesters shun Japanese businesses in China over Diaoyus”

Categories: Human Rights & Social Issues

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