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More than half of major companies surveyed recently are afraid strained relations between Japan and China could adversely affect their business with China.

Nevertheless, 66 percent of the respondents to a Kyodo News survey are set to expand their business in China, which has been strengthening its presence in the global economy.

Kyodo sent a questionnaire in mid-July to executives of 100 leading companies in the steel, automobile, chemical, retail and other business sectors, and received replies from 95.

Now that relations between Japan and China have become strained over such issues as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine and controversial school textbooks on Japanese history, 51 of the respondents expressed concern about possible adverse effects of Sino-Japanese tensions on their Chinese business.

While two companies experienced actual adverse effects in the wake of violent anti-Japan protests in many parts of China earlier this year, 20 either said they saw no bad effects or consider them manageable.

Regarding the Koizumi administration’s policy toward China, 41 of the firms said they give it low marks, while 10 said they are either moderately or highly in favor of it.

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