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Firms close on anniversary

By Gao Changxin, Li Fangfang, Wang Zhuoqiong and Li Wenfang  (China Daily)

08:21, September 18, 2012

The national flag and patriotic slogans cover the outside of a Japanese restaurant in Chaoyang, Beijing. Many Japanese businesses in China closed their doors amid protests against Japan. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

Many Japanese businesses will shut operations on Tuesday, the anniversary of Japan's invasion of Northeast China in 1931, in a precautionary move ahead of possible protests against Tokyo's recent move to "buy" China's Diaoyu Islands.

The worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades was seen in protests over the weekend.

Economic and trade ties between the two largest Asian economies are under threat.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a daily news briefing that China will protect Japanese firms and citizens and called for protesters to obey the law.

Hong blamed Japan’s illegal purchase of the islands for the "gravely destructive consequences" and said it is Japan that should bear responsibility.

The government has called for the Chinese people to express their demands in a "legal and rational way".

Some Japanese companies closed temporarily, as a matter of prudence.

Toyota and Honda both reported that arsonists had badly damaged their stores in the eastern port city of Qingdao over the weekend.

However, Toyota said its factories and offices were operating as normal on Monday and that it had not ordered its Japanese employees in China to stay home. Honda has reportedly suspended production in China for two days, starting on Tuesday.

Mazda will halt production from Tuesday in its Nanjing factory, which it jointly operates with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co and Ford, for four days.

Canon announced on Monday it will close its three Chinese factories temporarily. The company's China headquarters told China Daily that the factories are located in Zhongshan and Zhuhai, Guangdong province, and in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

The factories employ more than 20,000 Chinese workers, and they will "take two days off, with pay, on Sept 17 and Sept 18", according to Canon. The factories mainly produce digital cameras and printers.

On the advice of police, Canon closed its stores and covered logos on Monday, the company said.

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