The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands.
Japan tourist visits to Beijing halved amid tensions over islands row
Drop follows anti-Japanese protests over East China Sea islands
Associated Press in Beijing
The number of Japanese tourists visiting Beijing fell by more than half in the first seven months of the year amid a spike in tensions between the countries, the city’s statistical bureau said Sunday.
Japanese tourist arrivals this year fell to 136,000 up to the end of July, down 53.7 per cent from the same period last year, the bureau said.
The drop follows violent anti-Japanese protests in Beijing and several other Chinese cities in September in response to complaints from the government over Japan’s move to nationalise uninhabited East China Sea islands claimed by China.
Japanese businesses were torched and Japanese-brand cars, most of which are made by Chinese joint venture firms, were smashed and their drivers assaulted.
There were also scattered reports of assaults on Japanese citizens, although none of the attacks were serious.
Tensions remain high between the sides, with their ships conducting regular patrols in waters surrounding the islands, called the Senkakus by Japan and Diaoyu by China. Taiwan also claims the islands and has negotiated an agreement with Tokyo to permit fishing in the area.
The decline in Japanese visitors was part of an overall 13.9 per cent decline in tourist arrivals blamed on the sluggish global economy, as well as a spike in Beijing’s notoriously bad air pollution.
Numbers of tourists from Asian countries fell 25.4 per cent, including a 19.9 per cent fall in visitors from South Korea. Visitors from the Americas fell by just 3.4 per cent.