Trade minister Shoichi Nakagawa criticized the Chinese government Sunday for failing to prevent vandalism of Japanese property in China by some of the participants in anti-Japan rallies the last three weekends.

“They were mobs, but they were controlled,” Nakagawa said of the people who hurled rocks at Japanese diplomatic establishments and vandalized some Japanese restaurants.

“A law-governed country must take steps to prevent mobs from attacking businesses. I can only wonder if (China) is truly a law-governed country,” Nakagawa said on a morning TV talk show.

He warned that Beijing’s failure to prevent acts of vandalism will erode foreign investors’ confidence in China.

“People around the world have started to worry whether it’s all right to undertake economic activity (in China),” he said.

On the dispute over gas field explorations in the East China Sea, Nakagawa reiterated his ministry’s stance that China must provide data on its ongoing gas projects and halt explorations immediately before Tokyo and Beijing can sit down to discuss joint exploration.

“We would like to talk with some information, not just talk for the sake of talking,” he said.

A Chinese consortium has been conducting natural gas projects in an area close to what Japan claims is the median line separating the two countries’ exclusive economic zones in the sea.

China does not accept the median line, saying its economic waters stretch to the edge of the continental shelf, an area much wider than the zone designated by Japan.

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