• Kyodo

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TV Asahi, under fire for distorting coverage of Sunday’s anti-Japan protest here, apologized Wednesday on its Hodo Station news and entertainment program for using footage from a hostile protest in Shenzhen on the weekend that it had claimed was shot in Hong Kong.

In a short acknowledgment of the mistake, the show apologized for the error but did not show any footage from the Hong Kong protest, which took place without incident Sunday.

The broadcast in question covered Sunday’s protests in various cities across China in an evening infotainment program that aired Monday. The TV Asahi narrator in the broadcast said about 12,000 protesters turned out in Hong Kong and that some were banging on Japanese cars. But the footage being shown took place Sunday in Shenzhen, not Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government pointed out the discrepancy and demanded a retraction earlier Wednesday.

“We have already requested the foreign affairs (ministry) in Japan to contact TV Asahi to make a correction and clarification to the TV program,” Morio Matsumoto, director of Public Relations and Cultural Affairs at Japan’s consulate in Hong Kong, said earlier Wednesday.

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Tokyo also told Kyodo that it was contacting TV Asahi to demand a correction.

Choi Pat Tai, chairman of Hong Kong Japan Tour Operators Association, said: “It should clarify the report as soon as possible. It will have a great impact on Hong Kong’s tourism.”

Choi stressed that it is safe for Japanese to visit Hong Kong, where protests are orderly and peaceful.

He said that up to 30 percent of the Japanese who planned to come to Hong Kong for the Golden Week holidays might cancel their plans due to the media reports on the protests.

Around 4,000 people marched in downtown Hong Kong Island on Sunday to protest Japan’s recent decision to approve a new set of history textbooks criticized for glossing over Japan’s wartime atrocities.

No violence was reported in the three-hour demonstration.

In neighboring Shenzhen, across the border in China, more than 30,000 people gathered outside a Jusco department store, which was cordoned off by police.

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