Japan's industry minister voices concerns over Thailand chaos

15:09, April 13, 2010      

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The minister for industry in Japan, Masayuki Naoshima, on Tuesday said that he is concerned about the economic impact of the recent clashes between anti-government protesters and the military and police in that country.

The protests have left 21 people dead and scores more injured. Last week, a Tokyo-based Japanese cameraman for Reuters was killed during clashes in Bangkok.

Naoshima said that Japan does not have a right to interfere in the domestic political affairs of another country, but added: ''We have asked the (Thai) government to do something about the situation at some point in the future.

The minister said that a concern for Japan was the impact of the demonstrations on the nation's tertiary industry. ''There has been an impact on the services sector. We hope the situation calms down as soon as possible.''

Japanese businesses, such as the department store chain Isetan Co. have seen their businesses affected by the unrest. Isetan's central Bangkok store has been closed since April 3.

The demonstrations are being held by supporters of former President Thaksin Shinawatra, who enjoys wide support among the poor, rural class, but was ousted in a coup after protests by the wealthy urban elite in 2006.

Now, his supporters have taken to the streets in a bid to oust current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva over alleged illegal donations to his party. The military is believed, however, to support Abhisit.

With demonstrations currently confined to the Thai capital, Japan's manufacturing companies in the county, which are largely based outside of the city, have so far seen their business undamaged.

Source: Xinhua


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