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China warns Japan trade will suffer

By Song Shengxia  (Global Times)

08:32, September 20, 2012

Japan shall take full responsibility for any impact on economic and trade ties between the two nations resulting from Japan's illegal "nationalization" of China's Diaoyu Islands, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said Wednesday.

"The farce about Japan's illegal 'purchase' of China's Diaoyu Islands will definitely harm the normal economic and trade ties between the two nations," ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a regular press conference. "This is what we don't want to see. Japan shall take full responsibility for it," he said.

Shen also said Japan's move will definitely impact planned talks on a free trade area (FTA) between China, Japan and South Korea, but did not answer questions about whether FTA talks, slated to be held later this year, have been canceled.

The ministry supports lawful and rational patriotic activities and firmly opposes all illegal conduct involving smashing, looting and burning during protests, Shen said.

Protests against Japan's illegal "purchase" of China's Diaoyu Islands erupted last week and culminated Tuesday on the 81st anniversary of the "September 18 Incident," which directly preceded Japan's occupation of Northeast China in 1931.

Wednesday saw some Japanese-funded enterprises, stores and Sino-Japan joint ventures reopen, but with slow business, after their suspension of operation Tuesday after some protests turned violent over the weekend.

Some branches of Japanese retailer 7-Eleven reopened Wednesday in Beijing. A staff member at a 7-Eleven store in eastern Beijing said the controversy caused big losses to the store, with fewer customers since last week.

Major Japanese-style restaurants in Beijing that closed Tuesday also reopened Wednesday, but with Chinese national flags hanging on their doors.

During lunch hour, usually the busiest time, there were only a few customers, including some Japanese ones, in Tai-Ichi, a Japanese-style restaurant in Chaoyang district, even though the restaurant, which a store employee said was owned by Japanese, was hanging a Chinese national flag.

Liu Peng, a spokesman of Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co, said not all of the company's China entities have resumed operation. "We let individual entities decide whether to reopen or not. After all, security concerns come first," he said.

Shen Li, a public relations staff member at Nissan Motor Co's China joint venture Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co, said the company resumed operation Wednesday after two days' suspension out of security concerns, but she could not give a figure on economic losses resulting from the two-day suspension and a decline in sales over the past week.

China is Japan's largest trade partner, while Japan is China's fourth-largest trade partner. China's exports to Japan reached $98.6 billion in the first eight months of the year, while imports from Japan amounted to $120 billion, customs data shows.

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