Tensions between China and Japan continue to rise over the disputed purchase by Japan of territorial islands between Okinawa and Taiwan.
The tension has spilled into the shipping world, with the Japanese ocean carrier “K” Line reportedly refusing to allow employees to travel to China, following on the heels of Japanese manufacturers closing plants in China that were the target of protests over the last week.
The dispute is centered around Japan’s purchase of the islands it calls Senkaku (and which China calls Diaoyu). China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping denounced the purchase of the islands from a Japanese family as a farce, with China believing them to be its ancient territory.
Tension has mounted thanks to lingering resentment from armed conflicts in the recent past, especially Japan’s military aggression during World War II. China has said protests mounted by its citizens are aimed at Japan’s government, not its people. Japan, meanwhile, is clearly worried about China’s expanding footprint in Asia.
“K” Line said its move to stop executive travel to China was a precaution to protect their safety, though its 15 Japanese nationals based in China will remain. The travel ban also does not affect the carrier’s services in and out of China. - Eric Johnson