BEIJING – Japanese companies have been kicked out of a major international trade fair that opened Tuesday in Sichuan Province, according to business sources in Japan.
The organizers of the Western China International Fair in the city of Chengdu sent notices to Japanese firms Monday evening asking them to pull out of the event, which runs through Sunday, the sources said.
The move is the latest in a series of retaliatory measures taken since Japan announced Sept. 11 that it nationalized three of the Senkaku islets, which China claims are part of its sovereign territory and calls Diaoyu.
The notice sent to Japanese firms and local authorities ordered them to “withdraw from the fair and remove exhibits,” the business sources said.
More than 60 Japanese companies and local authorities had entered the trade fair, one of the biggest in China, with 4,500 companies from about 50 countries and territories participating. Backed by the Chinese government, the event generated 1.2 trillion yuan ($190 billion) worth of business and investment deals for those that took part last year.
Apart from sending Chinese patrol vessels to the Japan-controlled Senkakus to assert China’s sovereignty claim, Beijing has tightened customs inspections on Japanese imports and delayed issuing working visas for Japanese employees.
A meeting between the two countries’ vice foreign ministers in Beijing on Tuesday produced few tangible results to mend the badly frayed ties, according to Japanese government officials.
Carmakers cut back
Major Japanese automakers are limiting production in China due to the emerging boycott of Japanese products by Chinese upset by Japan’s nationalization of the Senkaku Islands.
Suzuki Motor Corp. will reduce operating hours at its Chongqing plant through this week. On Monday, the company switched shifts at the Chongqing Changan Suzuki Automobile Co. facility from a day-and-night rotation to a day-only shift.
Nissan Motor Co. will suspend operations at three plants in such places as Guangdong Province for three days from Thursday, ahead of an eight-day national holiday period starting Sunday.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. are also examining various measures, such as extending workers’ holidays or reducing working hours.