Japanese companies Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. have announced factory shutdowns in China as local protesters step up their attacks and demonstrations over the recent territorial scuffle between the country and Japan. The companies have also urged expatriates to stay indoors for their safety. The anti-Japan sentiment in China reached its peak over the weekend, with Chinese patriots holding demonstrations and attacking factories and operations of large Japanese companies in the country. The violence involved in the attack has caused fear among the Japanese living in China, forcing them to go into hiding. The violence also has prompted Chinese state media to issue a warning that trade relations between the two largest Asian economies would deteriorate.
Another barrage of anti-Japan sentiment is expected across China on Tuesday, the anniversary of Japan's 1931 occupation of parts of the mainland. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei assured that the government would protect Japanese companies and citizens.
He also appealed to protesters to obey the law. Lei told a daily news briefing that the “gravely destructive consequences” of Japan's “illegal purchase of the Diaoyu Islands” are emerging, adding that Japan should bear the responsibility. The islands, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China, became a center of renewed dispute after the Japanese government decided to purchase some of them from a private Japanese owner. China responded by sending six surveillance ships to the area.