Japan digs in, suspends services to China

The territorial dispute between China and Japan over tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea continues to escalate. Mass anti-Japan protests in China lead to the Japanese suspending businesses and embassy services in China. 

Ng Han Guan/AP
Workers at a Japanese restaurant cover up the shop front with Chinese national flags and red clothes ahead of major protests expected on Tuesday in Beijing, China, Monday. Chinese are trying to hurt Japan economically for leverage in a bitter dispute over contested islands, turning to angry protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese businesses, abetted in part by China's government.

Hundreds of Japanese businesses and the country's embassy suspended services in China on Tuesday, expecting further escalation in violent protests over a territorial dispute between Asia's two biggest economies.

China's worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades led to protests and attacks on Japanese companies such as car makers Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co, forcing them to halt operations and prompting Chinese state media to warn that trade relations could deteriorate.

More protests continued across China on Tuesday, which marks the anniversary of Japan's 1931 occupation of parts of mainland China.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered outside Japan's embassy again on Tuesday, some throwing water bottles at the building, which was protected by a heavy police presence, Reuters witnesses said.

Japan was also bolstering its defences around the disputed East China Sea islands after state media reported a flotilla of around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats was sailing towards them.

The Japanese coast guard said it has so far been unable to confirm the arrival of the fishing boats, but it spotted one Chinese fisheries patrol ship in waters near the disputed islands shortly before 7 a.m. (2200 GMT)

The Japanese government has set up an information-gathering operation to monitor the movements of the Chinese fishing boats.

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 nationalise some of them, buying them from a private Japanese owner.

The weekend protests mainly targeted Japanese diplomatic missions but also shops, restaurants and car dealerships in at least five cities.

Toyota and Honda said arsonists had badly damaged their stores in the eastern port city ofQingdao at the weekend.

On Tuesday, Toyota said it plans to halt operations at some of its factories in China, Kyodo news agency reported.

Other major Japanese brandname firms announced similar shutdowns on Monday and urged expatriates to stay indoors.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.