Japanese consulate in HK dismisses fears over Diaoyu tensions
Japanese residents have no fears about conducting daily activities in Hong Kong, despite an attack on a Japanese couple last month amid tensions over the Diaoyu Islands, the Japanese consul general said on Monday.
“We are not feeling any particular problem concerning activities in Hong Kong, despite the problem that happened some time ago. That has been taken care of successfully,” Yuji Kumamaru said, while on his way to attend Chinese National Day celebrations at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
Anti-Japan sentiment ran high following Tokyo’s announcement last month that it would buy several of the disputed islands. There were attacks on Japanese businesses as a wave of protests in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Qingdao turned violent.
Last month, businessman Tatsuya Akioka, 37, and his wife, Miwa, 35, were punched by a 31-year-old Hong Kong man as they walked along the Tsim Sha Tsui East promenade from their home in Hung Hom. The next day the Japanese consulate warned the 22,000 Japanese living in Hong Kong to avoid deserted places at night and stay away from protests.
Many tours to Hong Kong were cancelled last month, along with school trips to Shanghai and Guangzhou by the Hong Kong Japanese School. Around 1.3 million Japanese citizens visit the city each year.
Amid widespread demonstrations, 60 Japanese-owned stores across China were closed and all Japanese employees – over 200 people – were told to stay at home.
As the riots continued, mainland police encouraged Japanese businesses to post signs saying that the Diaoyu islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, belonged to China – to avoid attacks.
On September 15, a Uniqlo clothing store in Shanghai was forced to display such a sign for 40 minutes while protesters passed by.