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China protests hit Japanese trade

Beijing, Sep 18 (): Panasonic, the Japanese electronics producer has suspended few businesses in China as two factories of the company were attacked by anti-Japanese protesters.

The company said its Qingdao factory will be shut until September 18. Panasonic spokesman told the company would continue to screen the situation for next 2 days.

Media reports say Canon, another Japanese company has also put off its operations in three of their Chinese factories. Wider protests have spread all over China, which has accelerated protests and hurt firms doing their business in China, including Toyota, the car manufacturer.

The protests began after Japan announced that it had finished a deal to purchase the disputed islands from its private Japanese owner located in East China Sea. China has always maintained sovereignty over these disputed islands which were also demanded by Taiwan.

The disputed islands are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China and are resource-rich but uninhabited. There have been contentious issues with these disputed islands between China and Japan, and there was a major diplomatic row among them in 2010.

Now, over the last weekend, the dispute has widened up again after Japan’s declaration about the purchase, leading to many protesters acting in various cities of China.

The protesters burnt Japanese flags and were targeting the Japanese-made cars. Reports said China’s Toyota dealer outlet was damaged at the demonstrations. Reports also said Canon had suspended operations until September 18 in about three of their factories in China.

Trade analysts said that the dispute is affecting the Japanese firms functioning in China. They said China was recognized for being a low-cost manufacturing region, but in the recent times it has a steady increase in the labour costs, taking the big advantage of its influence in other countries.

Analysts said that protests could cause some Japanese companies starting to see beyond China for their further expansion. Mr Rein of China Market Research Group said they might consider expanding their manufacturing operations in countries like Thailand or in some other nations who are welcoming Japanese investment.

He cautioned that such transfers might have a large impact on the economic growth of China and on overall trade between the two biggest economies of Asia. They said the trade relations would be surely damaged by the ongoing protests.