Japanese Car Makers Keep China Production on Hold

Created: 2012-09-20 12:35 EST

Category: Business
Japanese automobile manufacturers Toyota and Honda kept their Chinese operations on hold on Thursday. This comes after some outlets were damaged earlier in the week during violent anti-Japan protests in China.
[Akio Toyoda, Chairman, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Assoc.]:
"We are prioritizing securing safety first. Currently, each company is deciding whether they should restart operations. So in this sense, not all operations are getting back on line with the current situation being so fluid."
Relations between China and Japan hit their lowest point in decades on Tuesday. It was the anniversary of Japan's occupation of China in 1931, something China's leadership still touts as a deep humiliation.
It added fuel to days of protests in more than 50 Chinese cities over the sovereignty of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
Chinese protestors destroyed Japanese shops, goods and automobiles in the streets. There have been calls for boycotts of Japanese businesses and products spreading on the Chinese Internet.
Akio Toyoda, who is also president of Toyota Motor Corp., called for a peaceful resolution and said the two countries needed to cooperate. He added he was hurt when he witnessed Japanese cars being destroyed by the protesters.
[Akio Toyoda, Chairman, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Assoc.]:
"I can't stand watching that. I feel as if my own body were being beaten when I see the cars being treated like that. The feelings and passion of the people involved in manufacturing the vehicles are also being stepped on."
Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said in an interview in Beijing that the potential economic impact of the dispute goes beyond just China and Japan; it also affects the global economic recovery.
[Angel Gurria, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development]:
"It's just that this is coming at a moment at which everybody was focusing on how do we get out of the hole or how do we stop a country like China being affected or how do we get a country like Japan getting over its deflationary blues. Or the fact that after their reconstruction effort, maybe their growth will wane. It's just, you know, bad timing I think."
China and Japan are Asia's two biggest economies. Two-way trade grew more than 14 percent in 2011 to a record 345 billion U.S. dollars. 
Tags: Toyota  Honda  anti-japanese  China  protest