Sunday September 16, 2012
Japan PM calls on China to ensure safety of citizens
TOKYO: Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Sunday called on China to ensure the safety of Japanese people and businesses amid reports of vandalism in an intensifying territorial row between the two nations.
Chinese state media reported on Saturday that angry demonstrators attempted to storm the Japanese embassy in Beijing as tens of thousands of people across China protested against Japan.
Japanese reports on Sunday said that anti-Japan demonstrations had expanded to about 50 cities in China.
In Qingdao in northeastern China, 10 factories connected to Japanese businesses included Panasonic were targeted by protesters, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported, citing the Japanese embassy in China as a source.
There were arson attacks and production lines were destroyed, the newspaper said.
"This situation is a great disappointment and so we are protesting" to China, Noda told a news programme on Fuji Television.
"We want (China) to oversee the situation so that at least Japanese citizens and businesses in China will not be in danger," he said.
The rumbling territorial dispute reached a new level during the week when Japan announced that it had bought islands in the East China Sea which it administers and calls Senkaku, but which China claims and calls Diaoyu.
Often testy Japan-China ties took a turn for the worse in August when pro-Beijing activists landed on one of the disputed islands.
They were arrested by Japanese authorities and deported. Days later about a dozen Japanese nationalists raised their country's flag on the same island, Uotsurijima, prompting protests in cities across China.
Six Chinese ships sailed into waters around the archipelago Friday, with Beijing saying they were there for "law enforcement", leading Tokyo to summon the Chinese ambassador to protest what it insisted was a territorial incursion. - AFP