China has allowed Japanese businesses operating in the country to be adversely affected by what is largely a political dispute. This was the statement aired by Japan’s new Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, who chided China over the way it is handling the row over a group of contested islands.
Tension rose between the two countries in September last year when the Japanese government purchased from a private individual three of five uninhabited islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. While Japan currently has control, both China and Taiwan are claiming sovereignty over the islands believed to be rich in minerals and aquatic resources. Anti-Japanese sentiments and violent protests erupted in China, causing damage to Japanese companies and disrupting operations. Abe says that Beijing shouldn’t have allowed harm to come to these Japanese companies and nationals who are contributing to Chinese economy.
The new Japanese government has just approved a stimulus package that will increase the defense budget by a small amount. This will include improvements not only to the coast guard but also to the air force, in response to claims of Chinese government planes violating Japan’s airspace for the first time since 1958. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei spoke out against the budget increase, saying that Japan’s new military trend is worrying its Asian neighbors due to historical reasons. Ironically, the prospect of a rearmed Japan has enjoyed support from countries in the region, many of whom are more worried about China’s growing assertiveness.
[ via BBC ]