Panasonic, Canon Shutter China Factories Amid Violent Anti-Japan Protests – 1,000 Chinese Fishing Boats To Arrive Near Senkaku Islands

An anti-Japanese protester throws a gas canister during a demonstration over the disputed Diaoyu Islands in Shenzhen, China, on Sunday.

Panasonic, Canon shutter China factories amid violent anti-Japan protests (MSNBC, 17, 2012):

Major electronics firms Panasonic and Canon have temporarily suspended production at factories in China after a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea triggered violent anti-Japanese protests.

Sites linked to auto manufacturers Toyota and Honda have also been attacked in the unrest, which has forced frightened expatriates into hiding and sent relations between Asia’s two biggest economies into crisis.

Ratcheting up tensions further on Monday, Chinese state media warned Japan it could suffer another “lost decade” if trade ties soured. Japan counted China as its top trade partner last year, with total two-way trade of more than $340 billion.

A demonstrator kicks a glass window of the Japanese Seibu department store during a protest in Shenzhen, China, on Sunday.

A report in the Japan Times on Monday, posted on Twitter, said 1,000 fishing boats were sailing towards the disputed islands – a move likely to further inflame tensions.

“I’m not going out today and I’ve asked my Chinese boyfriend to be with me all day tomorrow,” said Sayo Morimoto, a 29-year-old Japanese graduate student at a university in Shenzhen.

Protests broke out across dozens of Chinese cities at the weekend, some violent, in response to the Japanese government’s decision last week to buy some of the disputed islands from a private Japanese owner. The move incensed Beijing.

In Tokyo, electronics giant Panasonic Corp said Monday it has suspended production at two electronics components factories in China and closed another, telling workers to stay at home after the facilities were attacked by anti-Japan protesters.

Atsushi Hinoki, a Tokyo-based Panasonic spokesman, said another plant in China has been closed after several workers “sabotaged” operations in the factory. The plant will also remain closed until Tuesday – a memorial day in China when it marks the anniversary of Japan’s 1931 occupation of parts of mainland China.

Chinese demonstrators set fire to a Japanese national flag during a protest over the Diaoyu islands issue, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan, in Wuhan, China, on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Canon Inc is set to suspend operations at three of its four plants in China on Monday and Tuesday. It will halt production lines at its laser printer factory in Guangdong, a digital camera factory in Guangdong, and a copier plant in Jiangsu, Japanese media reported.

The protests focused mainly on Japanese diplomatic missions but also targeted shops, restaurants and car dealerships in at least five cities. Toyota and Honda reported arson attacks had badly damaged their stores in Qingdao.

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