With the debate over the ownership of the Senkaku islands remaining heated, tensions continue to run high across mainland China. There have been numerous instances of attacks on those being seen to support Japan, and Japanese-owned businesses have been hit hard, with many, including world-famous fashion store Uniqlo, ordering their Japanese staff to remain at home for the time being.
On this side of the water, however, both Japanese and Chinese alike are going about their daily lives with relatively little conflict or stress.
Record China reports that many Chinese journalists visiting Japan are returning to their homeland more or less empty-handed in terms of dramatic scoops and photos, reporting that they did not witness a single scene of violence or unrest on the streets.
In an article published late last week, the website quotes a young Chinese man studying at a Tokyo university, who tells of how friends from home, believing him to be in danger, have sent messages urging him to be careful.
“Aside from a few scary-looking right-wing protestors I came across in Shibuya, I haven’t seen any trouble,” he said, “I’ll probably just be careful not to speak in Chinese too loudly from now.”
Indeed, for all the images of window-smashing and violence beamed back from China, everything in Japan is, on the surface at least, business as usual.
A fellow Chinese student at the university, going by the name Wei, is also quoted by the website as saying: “The Japanese people don’t seem to have changed in any way; the only difference here is that the newspaper columns and media reports seem to be a little more heated than usual.”
Although the issue of the Senkaku islands is a serious one and in need of urgent attention, it would seem that, while China is whipping itself up into a frenzy over the dispute, Japan, although deeply affected, is remaining calm.
One of my own Japanese friends here in Tokyo recently told me of receiving a phone call from her friend in China, genuinely concerned about my friend’s physical safety.
“She told me to take care of myself and not to get involved in any demonstrations that might turn violent. When I told her that there weren’t any, she seemed genuinely shocked; as if she’d been led to believe that scenes of similar unrest were occurring in Japan, too.”
Perhaps the issue to be addressed first here is the lack of real communication. It would be wrong to suggest that Japanese are not troubled or angered by the recent events, but few are letting it affect their daily lives or resorting to violence and flag-burning.
When asked whether the dispute between Japan and China had affected his business, a Chinese restaurant owner in Ikebukuro replied: “Most of my customers are Japanese; if anything, I feel like they intentionally avoid the topic of the islands all together when they visit my restaurant.”
The tourism industry has, however, seen huge losses.
Many Chinese-owned travel agents based in Japan are reported to have seen a plunge in the number of bookings they receive from Chinese customers, despite the fact that, while leading tours around cities like Tokyo and Osaka, there has yet to be a single anti-Chinese outburst or comment heard.
Another Chinese travel agent tells of mass cancellations in recent weeks:
“We had a lot of reservations from Chinese people taking advantage of the public holidays in China at the end of October, but in a flash they all cancelled. To make matters worse, many Chinese tour guides have left the country. This will probably continue for at least the next six months.”
Source: Record China© RocketNews24