Organisers of the Tokyo International Film Festival said on Tuesday they had gone ahead with the screening of a Chinese-made film, despite requests by producers to shelve it because of a territorial row.
The companies behind Wang Jing’s Feng Shui – the only Chinese film nominated for the festival’s grand prize – said on Friday they wanted to withdraw their entry in protest at the dispute over the sovereignty of an uninhabited island chain.
But the festival’s secretariat said they would not remove the film because they had received no formal notification and on Monday went ahead with its screening.
“If a movie cannot be screened, it means we are allowing politics to step into the sphere of cultural exchanges, namely a film festival, and that we should not allow to happen,” said Nobushige Toshima, head of the secretariat.
“We judged that we should provide a venue to present an excellent film,” he said.
Toshima said the movie was screened because of an agreement with producers who submit their work to the festival that organisers’ consent is required to remove a film.
The decades-old dispute over the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyus, flared up again in August and September.
Street protests erupted in China, sometimes targeting Japanese firms, and diplomatic blows were traded at the United Nations General Assembly.