National

Tokyo raises concern over Beijing order to Muji to scrap catalogs with maps failing to show disputed islands

Kyodo

The central government has communicated its concerns to Beijing over an order to scrap Tokyo-based retailer Muji’s catalogs that contained maps that did not show the Senkaku Islands, the top government spokesman said Wednesday.

“There is no territorial dispute to be settled over the Senkaku Islands. We can by no means accept the measure based on China’s unilateral claims,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference, referring to the Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea.

The map in question was used in catalogs distributed at a Muji store in Chongqing to indicate the number of its shops operating in each country and region.

The National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China complained to Ryohin Keikaku last October that its map in the catalogs did not show the Senkakus, or other islands claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea.

Responding to the order to discard the catalogs and implement measures to prevent similar practices, the company said it has taken appropriate steps and scrapped the catalogs.

China and Taiwan both claim the Senkakus, calling them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively. Tokyo conveyed its concerns to Beijing on Tuesday night through diplomatic channels, Suga said, after recently learning of the order.

Suga said it is obvious that the uninhabited islets are part of Japan’s inherent territory in terms of history and international law and the order by the Chinese authorities against Ryohin Keikaku Co., the operator of the Muji stores, could have a negative impact on the business activities of Japanese companies.

The Chinese government has recently accused a number of foreign companies of treating self-governing Taiwan and semi-autonomous Hong Kong as if they were independent countries on their websites and in other materials, reflecting President Xi Jinping’s hard-line stance on territorial issues.