BEIJING – China expressed regret Monday after a man attacked the official car of Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa in Beijing and ripped off its Hinomaru flag, the Japanese Embassy in Beijing said.
Niwa was not injured by the attack, which took place on Beijing’s No. 4 Ring Road shortly after 4 p.m. as Niwa was returning to the embassy, officials at the embassy said.
The Japanese Embassy said in a press release that it filed a strong protest with the Chinese Foreign Ministry and that a senior member of the ministry expressed “deep regret” over the incident.
According to the Japanese Embassy, at least two cars forced Niwa’s car to stop on a major thoroughfare. A man then emerged from one of the vehicles and attacked the envoy’s car, taking its front flag. The embassy noted that the flagpole was damaged but said there were no casualties or other damage resulting from the incident.
The incident was the latest to emerge from a diplomatic spat over the Japan-controlled, Chinese-claimed Senkaku Islands, known in China as Diaoyu, that erupted earlier this month after a group of Chinese activists landed there. The arrest and deportation of the activists caused widespread anti-Japan demonstrations to erupt across China