Japanese firms shut China plants as violence continues
China’s worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades led to weekend demonstrations and violent attacks on well-known Japanese businesses such as car makers Toyota and Honda, forcing frightened Japanese into hiding and prompting Chinese state media to warn that trade relations could now be in jeopardy.
Another outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment is expected across China on Tuesday, the anniversary of Japan’s 1931 occupation of parts of mainland China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the government would protect Japanese firms and citizens and called for protesters to obey the law.
“The gravely destructive consequences of Japan’s illegal purchase of the Diaoyu Islands are steadily emerging, and the responsibility for this should be born by Japan,” he told a daily news briefing.
China and Japan, which generated two-way trade of $345 billion last year, are arguing over the uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, a long-standing dispute that erupted last week when the Japanese government decided to buy some of them from a private Japanese owner. In response, China sent six surveillance ships to the area, which contains potentially large gas reserves.
The weekend protests not only targeted Japanese diplomatic missions but also shops, restaurants and car dealerships in at least five cities. Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co said arsonists had badly damaged their stores in the eastern
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