SHANGHAI — A number of Japanese brands and manufacturers ceased normal business operations across China today amid concerns that violent protests could erupt again as tensions rise between the two countries over a territorial dispute.
Thousands of Chinese citizens attacked Japanese-run businesses over the weekend, including department stores and supermarkets, to protest Japan’s purchase of a chain of islands that Beijing says belong to China.
According to press reports, Japanese-owned companies have instructed employees to stay home out of concern more demonstrations might erupt today, which marks the anniversary of Japan’s invasion of Northeast China in the Thirties.
Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, said it had closed 39 stores for the entire day and had closed three locations temporarily.
“As the current situation is worsening, we are starting to see an impact,” the company said. “As a result of the demonstration, sales of Uniqlo products are not going well.”
The company said so far there has been no damage to any of its retail operations and that none of its employees have been injured, adding that it had not decided whether the stores would reopen on Wednesday.
“We currently have over 200 Japanese employees based in China, and we have instructed them to stay home,” Fast Retailing said.
Japanese retailer Seven & I Holdings closed 13 of its Ito Yokado hypermarkets today, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported.
On Monday, a Shiseido spokesman said protestor damaged an unspecified number of the company’s sales counters at retailers such as hypermarket Jusco, part of Aeon Co. Ltd., and Heiwado. He said the stores would be closed for the time being. A spokesman for Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. said the retailer closed its Isetan store in Chengdu a couple of hours early on Monday and might curtail operation hours today.