Diaoyu Islands

Hong Kong's Japanese not scared by violent attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 12:24pm

Japanese people are unafraid to live in Hong Kong despite a violent attack on a couple from their country, sparked by Sino-Japanese tensions over the Diaoyu Islands, an official said.

The Japanese consul general Yuji Kumamaru said: "We are not feeling any particular problem concerning the activities in Hong Kong, despite the problem that happened some time ago … that has been taken care of."

His comments, made at the National Day celebrations at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, come after anti-Japanese sentiment soared following Tokyo's decision to buy several of the disputed islands. Japanese businesses in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Qingdao were attacked as the ensuing protests turned violent.

The day after the attacks, the consulate warned its 22,000 citizens here to avoid deserted places at night and protests.

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 same month, many tours to Hong Kong were cancelled, 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 stores across China were closed, and all Japanese employees, totalling over 200 people, were told to stay at home.

As the riots continued, mainland police encouraged Japanese businesses to post signs saying the islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, belonged to China to avoid attacks.

In Shanghai, Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing firm, was forced to display such a sign for 40 minutes while protesters passed.