Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura lodged a formal protest with Chinese Ambassador Wang Yi on Sunday and demanded an apology for an anti-Japanese rally in Beijing the previous day that turned violent.

“A series of acts of vandalism on not only the Japanese Embassy and the ambassador’s residence, but also Japanese firms, is indeed a serious problem,” Machimura told reporters after a half-hour meeting with Wang at the Foreign Ministry.

But later Sunday in Beijing, Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said “the responsibility for the current state of affairs between Japan and China does not rest with China.”

Machimura sought assurances for the safety of Japanese nationals and asked that steps be taken to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s events.

He also called on the Chinese side to pay for the damage.

“Although (China had taken) security measures, it is problematic that security was not effective enough to prevent such an incident,” Machimura said.

Wang responded by telling Machimura that Japan’s concerns will be conveyed to China, and called for both sides to be “level-headed” in dealing with such matters, according to the minister. He added that Wang did not issue a clear apology during the meeting.

“The (Chinese) government does not endorse any violent actions,” Wang told reporters in Japanese after the meeting.

A Foreign Ministry official later quoted Wang as saying that China would do “its utmost” to prevent violent activities from occuring in the future.

Japan and China are currently making arrangements to hold talks between their foreign ministers in Beijing on April 17. Machimura is expected to use the opportunity to urge his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, to take steps to prevent such vandalism.

Thousands of Chinese protesters marched in Beijing, accusing Tokyo of distorting its wartime past and urging a boycott of Japanese products. Some participants hurled rocks, eggs and plastic bottles at the embassy and the ambassador’s residence as well as restaurants and a bank.

No official figures were announced, but estimates of the number of anti-Japanese protesters in the demonstration ranged from 10,000 to 20,000. It is believed to be the first major anti-Japanese demonstration in Beijing since the two countries normalized relations in 1972.

About 20 window panes were broken at the embassy, according to a Japanese Embassy official.

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