Japan PM fires fresh broadside at China in row
By Hiroshi Hiyama ,AFPTOKYO -- Japan's hawkish new prime minister took aim at Beijing again Friday, accusing China of deliberately allowing Japanese businesses to suffer in the corrosive row over disputed islands.
January 12, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
The salvo is the latest from nationalist Shinzo Abe since he swept to victory in elections last month and came as he announced a spending splurge, including on military hardware.
It also follows reports that policymakers want next year's defense budget in Japan to rise for the first time in more than a decade, as Asia's two biggest economies continue to face off over the East China Sea.
“For political ends, harming Japanese companies and individuals in China that contribute to the Chinese economy and society — I want to say it is wrong for a responsible nation state in the international community,” Abe told a press conference in Tokyo.
“It not only harms bilateral relations, it has a significantly negative influence on China's economy and its society.”
Japan and China are locked in a bitter battle over the sovereignty of the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyus.
Tokyo's September nationalization of three of the disputed islands, the seabed of which is believed to harbor valuable minerals, prompted violent rallies across China, with protesters trying to storm diplomatic missions and vandalizing Japanese stores, factories and shops selling Japanese-brand goods.
The riots and an unofficial Chinese consumer boycott cost firms more than US$100 million, according to one Japanese government estimate.
Analysts noted the apparent unwillingness of Beijing to stop the sometimes violent demonstrations, at a time the Communist Party was managing a delicate power transfer from President Hu Jintao to Xi Jinping.
Commentators said large-scale protests in the country are usually quashed quickly if the government does not approve.